Bronx gunman sentenced in Prospect Lefferts Garden shooting

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James Sanders
District Attorney

A Bronx gunman will spend the next 17 years behind bars for a 2016 shooting that left a former high school basketball star paralyzed from the waist down, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Tuesday. 

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik handed down the sentence to 35-year-old James Sanders after he plead guilty to second-degree attempted murder in October.

“Without any provocation or warning, this defendant opened fire on a defenseless and innocent passerby, forever altering the life of a gifted athlete,” said Gonzalez. “I hope today’s sentence brings some measure of closure to the victim and his family.” 

On Dec. 4, 2016, 23-year-old Jaquan Causer — once the star basketball player at Fryeburg Academy in Maine — was walking to his home in Prospect Lefferts Gardens on Lefferts Avenue near Bedford Avenue, when he noticed Sanders arguing with another man. 

Causer glanced in Sanders’ direction briefly, which prompted Sanders to becom, according to the DA. 

Surveillance footage shows the gunman trail Causer for a short distance, before pulling out his gun and shooting him in the back. Paramedics rush Causer to Methodist Hospital, where doctor’s determined he was permanently paralyzed from the waist down, crushing the ball player’s athletic dreams, according to a NY Daily News report.

About a year and a half following the shooting, a gun was recovered from the home of a friend of Sanders that matched the shell casings recovered from the scene of the shooting, which lead to Sanders’ arrest, the DA said. 

“Such senseless acts of gun violence have devastating consequences for our communities and cannot be tolerated,” Gonzalez said.