In a striking case that has captured the attention of New York, LaShawn Craig, a 45-year-old MTA train operator and military veteran, finds himself at the center of a complex legal situation following the fatal shooting of his tenant, Timothy Jones.
The incident, which took place in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, raises questions about self-defense, property rights, and the criminal justice system.
The Incident and Immediate Aftermath
According to reports from the New York Police Department, the incident occurred around 9:40 p.m. last Friday when Craig, the landlord, encountered Jones, a 64-year-old man with a history of criminal activity, masked and armed with a Taser inside his apartment. Prosecutors revealed that Craig had instructed Jones to leave before the situation escalated, leading to Craig shooting Jones in the torso when he allegedly reached into his pockets.
Craig, who had no previous criminal record, immediately called 911 following the shooting and surrendered a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun, which he was carrying without a license. Despite the circumstances hinting at self-defense, he was arrested and charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon. Jones succumbed to his injuries at Kings County Hospital Center.
Background of the Dispute
Sources indicate that the fatal encounter stemmed from a dispute over family photographs. “Where are my pictures,” Jones was reported to have yelled inside the building located on Pulaski Street near Malcolm X Boulevard. Notably, Jones, who lived with Craig, had a criminal background involving over 20 prior arrests, predominantly for narcotics and domestic violence. This was not his first violent encounter in the building; he was critically wounded in a shooting last June in an unrelated incident involving a drug deal gone wrong, which resulted in the death of 19-year-old Briana Zaret.
Legal Proceedings and Community Response
On Sunday, Craig was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. While prosecutors requested a $50,000 bail, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office confirmed that a judge opted for supervised release. Michael Cortez, an MTA spokesman, commented that Craig, an employee since 2014, is currently withheld from duty pending a review of the facts.
Broader Context of Landlord-Tenant Violence
This incident occurs against increasing landlord-tenant violence in New York City. Just last week, a landlord in Queens confessed to killing three people in a dispute over unpaid rent. Additionally, a Brooklyn landlord was arrested on suspicion of starting a fire in a building with tenants inside, also related to unpaid rent. These incidents highlight a growing trend of extreme measures taken in landlord-tenant conflicts in the city.
It is important to note that all charges in these cases are mere allegations, and those being prosecuted are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.