Suspected Gunman Makes First Court Appearance in Deadly NY Nightclub Shooting

What to Know

  • The owner of a Mount Vernon nightclub was killed and five others were wounded in a shooting Sunday morning .
  • Mount Vernon police said the suspect allegedly shot the 40-year-old owner as an act of retaliation for being ejected from the club
  • The 36-year-old suspect has an open attempted murder case in the Bronx, in addition to charges of murder and five counts of attempted murder

The suspect in a deadly Christmas Day shooting in Mount Vernon made his first appearance in court Monday morning as family members and friends grieved the loss of a man who they say was helping to elevate the community. 

The 36-year-old suspected gunman, who's from the Bronx, was arraigned in Mount Vernon City Court on charges of murder and attempted murder in the shooting that killed O'Neal Bandoo, the 40-year-old owner of The Mansion nightclub, and injured five others.

After the arraignment, Errol Hillary was remanded back to jail with no bail. He's next expected to appear in court Friday for a separate hearing on a felony charge, according to the Westchester District Attorney.

Attorney information for Hillary wasn't immediately clear. 

Outside the courtroom, the victim's young daughter was in tears as she cried, "My dad." 

Bandoo's father told reporters that "he was a very good man." 

"He'd work all the time. The nature of what he was doing was he had to work holidays a lot," said Brian Deaver. "His job was that, taking care of people on holidays." 

Deaver said his son, who lived in the University Heights section of the Bronx, had been planning a Christmas celebration at his home. 

Another family friend, Bashon Reid, called O'Neil "an amazing man" who for his age "has done so many things, he's gonna live beyond his time."

"He actually elevated this community, Mount Vernon," said Reid. "He was able to employ so many people -- Mount Vernon right now needed something, needed some light brought to it. He was able to help a lot of people, employ a lot of people. He was an inspiration to many people."

"This was something that was very unexpected," he said. "He didn't deserve this."  

The gunshots rang out inside The Mansion at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday. A patron, Cleveland Douse, told NBC 4 New York he was with the owner inside the club when they heard the gunfire. After Bandoo ran downstairs toward the commotion, more shots were fired. 

"When I heard the shots, I ran back to the bar," said Douse. "I ran back to the bar, I come downstairs, I come outside and I saw three men on the ground."

The five injured victims suffered non-life threatening wounds to the leg, arm, chest and back and were treated at hospitals.

Security guards tackled suspect Errol Hillary to the ground immediately after shots were fired. He got away from them briefly, but was caught shortly afterward by arriving police officers. 

Mount Vernon Police Captain Edward Adinaro said he belives the suspect wanted to retaliate after he was possibly ejected from the club earlier on in the evening. He said he didn't know what led to the suspect getting kicked out.

The gunman was already wanted on an open attempted murder charge in the Bronx, police said. 

"It's a dark day in the city and we are all grieving," Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas in a statement. "No one should ever have to endure this pain. Mr. Bandoo was a good man who as dedicated to uplifting and serving the people of Mount Vernon."

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