Second Man Involved In Flanders Shooting Takes Plea Deal, Sentenced To One Year In Jail

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The second suspect in an October 15 shooting that critically injured a Flanders man was sentenced to time served—nine days—after pleading guilty to hindering prosecution, and was then immediately shipped to an upstate prison, where he will serve a year for violating the terms of his parole, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Emmanuel Coleman, 34, of Riverhead pleaded guilty on October 24 to third-degree hindering prosecution, a misdemeanor, and violating his parole from a 2012 assault that took place in Queens, according to state parole records. Mr. Coleman had been originally charged with first-degree assault, a felony, in connection with the recent shooting after being arrested in Flanders along with the alleged triggerman, Kwame Opoku, 33, of Mastic Beach.

Since then, Mr. Opoku has seen his charges upgraded to first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, all felonies; he pleaded not guilty on November 3 to the upgraded charges and is currently being held at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside in lieu of $250,000 cash bail, or $500,000 bond.

According to Robert Clifford, spokesman for the D.A.’s office, Mr. Coleman admitted to prosecutors that he advised Mr. Opoku to get rid of the gun used in the shooting on McKinley Street in Flanders that critically injured his girlfriend’s brother on October 15. Both Mr. Coleman and Mr. Opoku were arrested later the same day, not far from where the shooting took place.

Authorities said they have recovered the weapon. Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa said police found the black handgun in the woods near Flanders Road on October 21, six days after the shooting.

“We spent hundreds of man-hours searching for the gun, from McKinley Street to Spinney Road, where [Mr. Opoku and Mr. Coleman] were found,” Sgt. Costa said. “They were not forthcoming with information to help us find the weapon.”

Mr. Coleman, who later cooperated with prosecutors, waived his right to a trial at his arraignment on October 16 in Southampton Town Justice Court.

In 2012, Mr. Coleman was arrested in Queens and charged with second-degree assault, a felony, according to state parole records. Authorities have not released any additional information regarding that incident, stating only that his arrest last month violated the terms of his parole.

Meanwhile, due to the severity of the crime, Mr. Opoku’s case was transferred to the Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead.

The 36-year-old shooting victim, who is not being identified by authorities, was shot twice at close range, once in the elbow and once in the back, outside the home that he shares with his mother and sister, the latter being Mr. Opoku’s girlfriend. Officials at Stony Brook Hospital said they could not offer an update on the victim, who was airlifted there following the shooting.

During Mr. Opoku’s most recent court appearance early last week, a representative from the D.A.’s office identified the shooting victim as the brother of Mr. Opoku’s girlfriend. Authorities said Mr. Opoku was arguing with the victim through text messages during the day and, at around 3 p.m. on October 15, Mr. Opoku went to the victim’s home and shot him twice at close range.

One bullet was recovered, but it was too fragmented to match to a gun, according to officials. Shell casings found at the scene, however, match the caliber of the weapon police later found in the woods in Flanders, authorities said.

At arraignment proceedings on October 16, Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson granted orders of protection that were requested by the victim and several unnamed witnesses. Justice Wilson did not read their names into the record after noting that the list included several minors. One minor on the list was related to Mr. Opoku, according to prosecutors.

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