Harlem’s Sugar Hill district becomes the backdrop for a fatal argument over a stolen soda

Marquius Chappelle evades arrest across five states after alleged soda-triggered dispute ends in Ousmane Ag's death in Harlem.

In a tragic incident from Harlem, Marquius Chappelle stands accused of shooting his roommate, Ousmane Ag, to death. The crime allegedly stemmed from a simple act: Ag took Chappelle’s soda from their shared refrigerator.

On the night of March 7, in an apartment located in the historic Sugar Hill district on W. 152nd St. near Nicholas Ave, a seemingly benign argument over the soda spiraled out of control. Manhattan prosecutors suggest that what began as a verbal altercation became physical, culminating in a fatal shooting.

Ag, aged 39, was discovered unconscious with two gunshot wounds. As recounted by the Daily News, the ensuing police investigation revealed three shell casings in Chappelle’s room. Despite efforts from the medical team at Harlem Hospital, Ag’s injuries proved fatal. The bullets had inflicted irreparable damage to his lung and aorta, the chief artery.

The Elusive Suspect

Key evidence came in the form of a video that captured Chappelle, 49, departing the building soon after the shooting. Although the NYPD swiftly issued an arrest warrant, Chappelle managed to elude capture for half a year. According to prosecutors, his evasion saw him traverse five states before he finally returned to New York.

Upon his return, Chappelle was detained in Manhattan this past Tuesday, with charges including murder and weapons possession. At his Wednesday arraignment, he was ordered to remain in custody without the option of bail. However, it’s crucial to remember that all charges at this stage are mere accusations. Every individual is presumed innocent until their guilt is proven in court.

A police source shared insights from neighbors, who remembered hearing heated discussions, followed by “a loud noise.” Digging into Ag’s past, records reveal that he had been arrested five times since 2006. His most recent arrest was in 2022 for drug possession, and he had served a three-year sentence following a 2011 weapons conviction.

A Worrisome Trend in the City

Sadly, New York has witnessed a spate of similar violent incidents among housemates and neighbors recently:

  • In Brooklyn last month, a mother was killed and her two young children severely injured by a co-resident wielding a hammer.
  • In July, a Bronx drug rehabilitation center reported the death of a patient who was assaulted by his roommate while asleep. He succumbed to his injuries 11 days post-attack.
  • Further incidents in May, April, March, January, and December underscore a disturbing pattern of fatal confrontations in the city, including disputes over noise and music that ended in grievous bodily harm or death.

Seeking Assistance

If you or someone you know is in crisis:

  • Dial 988 or 1.888.NYCWELL(1.888.692.9355).
  • Text “WELL” to 65173.
  • For more information, visit NYC Well.