Two Staten Island men fought for their lives but their assailant finally won out when he shot each of the men, one in the head, the other in the leg and torso. The victims of the attack, Kenrick Gray, 34, and Noland (DJ) Whistleton, 41, both died of their injuries a short time later after police responded to an emergency 911 call that conveyed the shooting which occurred on Park Hill Avenue. The call came in at 6:17 p.m. Gray who was shot in the head was pronounced dead on arrival at Richmond University Medical Center and Whistleton suffered the same fate when his lifeless body arrived at Staten Island University Hospital shortly after the violence concluded.
Gray, of Stapleton, may well have had an inadvertent hand in the events that transpired which led to the attack that caused his death and that of Whistleton. A few years ago he won a settlement against the City of New York that totaled $132,500.00 from a federal civil rights lawsuit. The city shelled out $125,000.00 and police officer Michael Daragjati had to personally pay $7,500.00. Additionally, the police officer is in the midst of serving an almost 5 year prison sentence for violating Gray’s rights as well as a conviction for an unconnected case. He had numerous other civil-rights grievances lodged against him at the time of the settlement.
According to court documents, the police officer arrested Gray in early April 2011 because he protested about being stopped and frisked in a “rough” manner at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Targee Street in Staten Island. The following day, an intercepted phone conversation caught the police officer, speaking to an associate saying that he had “fried another [n-word].” This condemning statement led to the settlement in tandem by the City and personally by the police officer.
Unfortunately, Gray was not tight-lipped about his monetary windfall.
As has been par for the course this year in the Metropolitan area, it was a snowy night when Darren “True Story” Brown, 27 of Mariner’s Harbor, confronted Gray and Whistleton. He apparently heard the story of Gray’s good fortune and decided that Gray was a prime target for a robbery. After approaching the two men and pulling his gun, the two victims’ began to fight with their attacker, trying to separate Brown’s firearm from his person. Brown suffered a gunshot wound but law enforcement believe that it may have been self-inflicted during the scuffle and in the end he remained the only one of the three men still breathing.
Although Gray was the victim of the robbery he was well-known in the neighborhood to be a small-time drug dealer. According to police records he had twenty-two drug related arrests.
Brown was arrested and indicted a few days later after being found hiding in the shower of his girlfriend’s home by the Staten Island Warrants Unit. It wasn’t known if he made off with any money that Gray might have been carrying during the fatal shootout.
He now faces a potential penalty of life in prison if convicted of the first-degree murder charges in the double homicide. He was also charged with attempted robbery. He pleaded not guilty to all charges through his attorney.
According to silive.com (Staten Island Live Online), Whistleton’s sister said that he and Gray were friends. Her brother just happened to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“My brother, he tried to save Kendrick, and that’s how he ended up getting shot,” as shown on the online news source. “Knowing my brother, knowing how he is, he wasn’t going to stand there.”
A source close to the investigation told the New York Post that Gray had spoken about using the money he made from the settlement to start a music business.
In a telephone interview, a female relative said “Word gets around about that type of thing… People knew he had a little money and he just wasn’t as quiet about it as he should have been… it’s just sad.”