Police are still searching for a trio of men involved in an East Williamsburg shooting Tuesday morning that left a metalworker dead and two others injured. Recently released surveillance video shows one of the men who investigators want for questioning; police describe him as "Hispanic, medium build, wearing a multicolored hooded jacket, gray sweatpants, and black sneakers."
Gunfire erupted shortly before 8 a.m. yesterday by the intersection of Grattan Street and Kickerbocker Avenue after two metalworkers confronted three thieves who were breaking into parked cars. Mechanic and metalworker Michael “Mush” Matusiak was one of the workers who confronted the thieves—he reportedly chased them briefly and yelled, "Oh, you guys are trying to break into cars?"
One of the suspects then turned and shot Matusiak, 53, several times in the chest. He died at the scene. His co-worker, Derrick Robinson, 57, was shot in the torso and grazed on the ear, and a 13-year-old girl was grazed in the hip as she walked to school. Both are in stable condition.
Investigators recovered five shell casings at the scene.
“Mike just wanted to help everybody,” his fiancée, Yvonne Carrasquillo, tells the NY Post. “If he would see somebody scratch your car, he would come up to them and tell them, ‘Listen why you do that for? Don’t do that!’"
One police source tells the Post that Matusiak was "a tough, knockaround guy from Greenpoint. He got up and went to work and wasn’t looking for any trouble. He saw these guys and wasn’t the kind of guy to back away."
“Mike was like the neighborhood handy guy, if anybody needed help with anything, they would go to Mike,” one of Matusiak's friends told CBS 2. A neighbor added, "It was upsetting you know? Nice guy and he’s young, trying to help someone else."
Longtime local residents were stunned by the violence Tuesday, saying the neighborhood was much quieter in recent years. For what mischief remained, business owners said they sometimes relied on workers on the block to chase burglars away.
Mark Galeotafiore, 44, the owner of the towing company, said there had been at least three attempted break-ins of his cars in the last eight months. After an instance in December in which his tow truck’s window was smashed, he and his girlfriend chased a man six blocks.
“You come into work in the morning and you’ve got to deal with these hoodlums in the street,” he said. “Enough is enough.”
Another local resident, Joshua Haimowitz, 27, encountered the crime scene while walking home from yoga. "People think about this as being this gold circle of gentrification and that we’re all super safe here,” Haimowitz told the Times. “But this is something people should potentially know about who live around here. Cars get broken into, and the people breaking into them could potentially be violent."
All three suspects are believed to be in their 20s. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.