NYC Man Who Paralyzed Ex-Basketball Star Gets 17 Years in Prison

Jaquan Causer was just 23 when he was paralyzed from the waist down not far from his Brooklyn home

A gavel on a table

A 35-year-old Bronx man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for a 2016 shooting that paralyzed a former high school basketball star from the waist down -- gunfire that erupted because the victim simply looked his way.

James Sanders had pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder in October in the Dec. 4, 2016 shooting of 23-year-old Jaquan Causer. Causer was walking to his Brooklyn home on Lefferts Avenue, near Bedford Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, around 5:20 a.m. that morning when he noticed Sanders arguing with another man. Causer glanced their way -- and Sanders started to yell at him, prosecutors have said.

Causer ignored Sanders and kept walking.

Video surveillance shows Sanders follow him briefly before firing several shots at his back. Causer called 911 and was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined he was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

A gun was recovered from the home of a Sanders acquaintance nearly a year and a half after the shooting. That gun matched ballistic shell casings recovered at the crime scene.

"Without any provocation or warning, this defendant opened fire on a defenseless and innocent passerby, forever altering the life of a gifted athlete. Such senseless acts of gun violence have devastating consequences for our communities and cannot be tolerated," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement after Tuesday's sentencing. "I hope today’s sentence brings some measure of closure to the victim and his family for the enduring harm they have suffered and continue to suffer.”

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