Erica Davies

Suspect Accused of Shooting, Killing Man on Bronx Sidewalk Had 86 Prior Arrests, Police Say

Most of Jamel Burney's 86 arrests were minor charges and convictions, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez

The Brooklyn man accused of shooting a man to death with a revolver on a Bronx sidewalk had over 80 arrests prior to when cops cuffed him Wednesday.

Jamel Burney had been arrested 86 times before he shot 46-year-old Michael Vermong, the NYPD said. Arrests for forgery, drugs and weapons decorate the 32-year-old's lengthy criminal history, which authorities say comprises a mix of misdemeanors and felonies.

The Crown Heights resident was in and out of jail a whopping 32 times between October 2004 and October 2016 for various charges including criminal trespassing and sale of marijuana, records from the New York City Department of Corrections show.

He faced a judge Thursday morning and was remanded without bail. 

Burney had one disorderly conduct and six petit larceny and theft of services cases between 2004 and 2005, according prosecutors from the Brooklyn District Attorney's office. The various sentences for each ranges from time served to up to 90 days in jail.

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said all were minor charges and convictions.

"It's not just about the severity of the crime, it's about the frequency of the crime," NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said Thursday. "It's nothing the NYPD can do alone. We'll talk with the district attorneys to make sure there are consequences for their actions."

There was bad blood between Burney and Vermong, who was shot in point-blank range with a revolver over a long-running drug dispute, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. He said the two knew each another and were at odds for some time.

Detectives got Burney to confess to the crime, Boyce said. Police charged him Wednesday with second-degree murder, manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Authorities arrested Burney after officers found Michael Vermong with a gunshot wound in his chest in front of a money transfer store near East 205th Street and Bainbridge Avenue in Norwood early Wednesday morning. 

Paramedics rushed him to Montefiore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Norwood residents were angry and saddened to hear that "Mike" is gone. Several people stopped to pray at the memorial created near Bainbridge Avenue, where Vermong lived and died. His name was spelled out in candle wax; two single roses, candles, photos and handwritten messages lay beside it.

Rosi Lopez laid a white rose at his memorial. To her and the other neighbors, losing Mike is like losing a family member. She was in disbelief after learning the man who killed him had been arrested 87 times in New York City.

"There is too much violence right now, it's sad," she said. "It really needs to stop. No one deserves to lose their life. Nobody."

Burney is due back in court April 4. 

Contact Us