East New York man faces lengthy sentence in fatal cab driver shooting

East New York man faces lengthy sentence in fatal cab driver shooting
District Attorney’s Office

A 27-year-old man from East New York was sentenced to 25 years to life for fatally shooting a cab driver and father of four, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on June 13.

The defendant, Unique Gray, allegedly hailed a taxi with Tyrell Gardenhire in Bedford-Stuyvesant at around 12:20 a.m. on June 29, 2015. According to video surveillance, Gray entered the back seat of the cab and shot the victim five times while attempting to rob him.

The victim, 35-year-old Fawaz Naji, suffered blows to his face, back, arm, and hand, according to the DA’s office. Gray and Gardenhire, 28, quickly fled the scene, although Gray left his cellphone inside the vehicle. Investigators located and arrested Gray in North Carolina in August 2015, two months after the shooting, according to Gonzalez.

“A devoted father who worked multiple jobs to prove for his wife and children was senselessly shot and killed in the prime of his life,” Gonzalez said. “Fawaz Naji had so much to live for when this defendant inexplicably chose to take it all away from him.”

On May 9, Gray was convicted of first-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Gardenhire pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery in March and received a nine-year prison sentence and five years of post-release supervision.

“With today’s sentencing, this defendant has now been brought to justice,” Gonzalez said.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306.