Brooklyn man gets 15 years to life in prison for fatal Sunset Park hotel shooting

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A man was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Wednesday for fatally shooting a man at the Sunset Park hotel where he lived in June 2019, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office announced.

“This defendant executed the victim in cold blood, shooting him at close range as he slept in his bed,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in a statement. “Thanks to the quick action of law enforcement he was apprehended as he attempted to flee the state, and this sentence ensures that he is held accountable for this shocking and heartless murder.”

Sam Chen, 44, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in June of this year for the June 26, 2019 crime. At that time, Chen was caught on video surveillance footage exiting his car with a man at around 8:16 a.m. and heading into the single-occupancy hotel near Seventh Avenue and 51st Street, where the man he was with lived.

The surveillance footage further shows Chen leaving the hotel alone shortly after, and returning a few hours later wearing a surgical mask. He is seen one more time leaving the premises, again alone, and again wearing the mask.

Two days later, the man’s body was discovered in his bed with two gunshot wounds to his head by hotel cleaning staff.

Police found 9mm shell casings at the crime scene, according to Gonzalez’s office, and investigators later found a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol that matched ballistic evidence from the crime scene when executing a warrant on the defendant’s car. 

Chen — who lives less than a mile away from the hotel — was apprehended at JFK Airport in Queens when boarding a flight to California on July 3, 2019.