Bed-Stuy man charged with murder for killing of activist Ryan Carson: DA

suspect in bedford-stuyvesant murder of Ryan Carson
Brian Dowling, the suspect in the murder of activist Ryan Carson, was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Oct. 20.
File photo by Lloyd Mitchell

An 18-year-old man was indicted Friday in the “brutal murder” of social justice advocate Ryan Carson in Bedford-Stuyvesant earlier this month.

Carson, 32, was fatally stabbed while waiting at a bus stop on Malcolm X Blvd and Lafayette with his girlfriend, who was not injured, in the early hours of Oct. 2.

Brian Dowling, 18, of Bed-Stuy, was arrested in connection with the killing on Oct. 5 and arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on Oct. 20 on charges of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top charge.

Ryan Carson was a promising and passionate man who worked to make our society better,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “Many of us watched the horrific video that showed his life being snuffed away senselessly, for no reason at all. We will now seek to hold his alleged killer fully accountable for this unspeakably brutal murder.”

Carson, who worked at the New York Public Interest Research Group, created the No OD NY campaign in 2021, and lobbied for safe injection sites to combat overdoses.

ryan carson
Carson was a social justice advocate who most recently worked as Senior Solid Waste Campaign Manager at New York Public Interest Research Group. Photo courtesy of GoFundMe

According to the DA’s office investigation, Dowling was allegedly walking angrily and kicking parked scooters on Malcolm X Boulevard at approximately 3:50 a.m., on Oct. 2 when he observed Carson, who was walking behind him with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors allege that clear video of the incident shows Dowling turning to Carson and yelling, in part, “I’m going to kill you.” Dowling then swung a knife, striking Carson, who was trying to deescalate the confrontation.

Carson attempted to flee but tripped over a bus stop bench and fell to the ground, according to video evidence. Prosecutors alleged that Dowling then stabbed Carson multiple times, striking his heart, as he lay on the ground.

According to investigators, Dowling flung the knife but returned moments later to retrieve it. However, a later search revealed that a knife, believed to be the murder weapon, was hidden under greenery next to a nearby sidewalk.

On Oct. 5, Dowling turned himself in at the 81st Precinct after he had been identified as a suspect in the killing.

Investigating officers searching Dowling’s apartment discovered multiple knives with similar handles to the handle of the knife that was recovered near the scene, according to the DA’s office. It is also alleged that clothes matching the ones that the assailant was wearing in the video were also recovered during the search.

Chun ordered that Dowling be held without bail and to return to court on Dec. 8, 2023.