Crips Gang Member Charged with Attempted Murder of an On-Duty FBI Agent
Defendant’s Girlfriend Also Charged with Lying to the FBI about Witnessing the Shooting
A criminal complaint was filed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Ronell Watson with attempting to murder a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent and with using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. A separate criminal complaint was also filed today charging Molissa Gangapersad with making false statements to the FBI. At their initial appearances this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione, Watson was ordered detained and Gangapersad was released on a $500,000 bond.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the charges.
“Watson showed an utter disregard for human life when he fired multiple shots without provocation at an on-duty FBI Special Agent,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Despite sustaining a serious gunshot wound, the agent courageously returned fire, hitting Watson, which ultimately led to the defendant’s capture when he sought medical treatment. Gangapersad will be prosecuted for lying to federal agents after she witnessed her boyfriend’s cold-blooded attack. The shooting on Saturday should serve as a reminder to all about the danger members of law enforcement face in the course of performing their duties and the debt of gratitude they are owed for putting their lives on the line to protect the community from violent criminals.” Mr. Donoghue expressed his grateful appreciation to the FBI and the New York City Police Department for its assistance during the investigation and thanked the skilled medical professionals who treated the agent.
“The unprovoked assault of a law enforcement officer is a grievous crime that threatens the safety and security of our communities. As alleged, Watson demonstrated callous disregard for life when he targeted and then deliberately opened fire on a fellow citizen. In this instance, that citizen was an FBI Special Agent who fought back. Today’s charges demonstrate that the FBI and our partners will identify and apprehend anyone and everyone who participated in this violent attack – whether you are the person who pulled the trigger or helped cover up after the fact. We will pursue every possible investigative lead and legal charge to ensure justice is served,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “I also wanted to personally thank our fellow citizens who called 911 in order to get aid dispatched for our agent, and we are very appreciative of the talented medical team who worked on him. The FBI New York office is tremendously grateful for the superb NYPD response out in Brooklyn, where our agent was treated like one of their own, and for the swift and decisive action by EDNY to bring charges in this case. Thank you for your professionalism and partnership.”
As alleged in the complaints and other court documents, on December 8, 2018, an FBI Special Agent was on-duty and parked in an unmarked car on Canarsie Road, a one way street, in Brooklyn. Watson, a member of the Crips street gang, drove his vehicle the wrong way on Canarsie Road and partially blocked the agent’s car. Watson approached the driver side door of the agent’s car with one hand inside the front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. As the agent maneuvered his car around Watson’s vehicle, Watson pulled out a gun and began firing at the agent as he drove away. The agent was hit in the torso by one bullet. The agent then exited his car, drew his firearm and fired at Watson striking him in the hand. Watson fled the scene in his car and drove to a nearby auto body shop where he left the vehicle. Watson then sought treatment for his wounds at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center where he falsely claimed that he had been a bystander victim of a gunfight between other individuals. Law enforcement officers at the hospital then overheard the defendant telephone a female, believed to be Gangapersad, and tell her to go to the house and “get the jewelry and get rid of it.”
Law enforcement officers responded to Watson’s and Gangapersad’s shared residence. Gangapersad agreed to a voluntary interview and falsely told FBI agents that she had not seen the shooting. After being confronted with surveillance video showing that she was on her front porch during the shooting and in a position to observe it, Gangapersad admitted that she had witnessed the incident. Members of law enforcement searched the residence and found approximately 1.5 pounds of marijuana, $15,000 in cash and a large amount of jewelry in the defendants’ bedroom. Both defendants were arrested that evening.
The charges in the complaints are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, Watson faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment. If convicted of lying to the FBI, Gangapersad faces up to five years’ imprisonment.
Assistant United States Attorney Francisco J. Navarro is in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-MJ-1191
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-MJ-1192