The Queens District Attorney has levied weapons charges against a Far Rockaway couple who lives next door to the home where a ten-year-old boy was shot and killed last weekend.
Ashram and Elizabeth Lochan, who live on Beach 45th Street, were arraigned Friday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.
They live next door to the home where 10-year-old Justin Wallace was killed June 5th after an assailant fired a gun into the building, hitting the boy in the torso and a 29-year-old man, said to be a relative, in the shoulder. Justin was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital where he was pronounced dead, and the man was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in stable condition.
On Tuesday, police announced the arrest of Jovan Young, 29, on charges of Justin’s murder, attempted murder of Justin’s relative, assault, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Young, who turned himself in at a police station Tuesday night and confessed to the shooting, is being held without bail after his arraignment, NBC 4 reported.
Ashram Lochan is accused of being involved in a feud over a driveway with members of Justin’s extended family who live next door, according to the New York Post: “Lochan had allegedly been arguing with Justin’s older nephew over the families’ shared driveway Saturday evening before another man fired into the Wallace relatives’ home, killing the fifth-grader with a single shot.”
During a search warrant at the Lochan residence, investigators found a loaded 9mm pistol, a .380 pistol and a .410 caliber revolver, as well as a tub containing various calibers of ammunition, including bullets for the .380 caliber and .410 caliber pistols, according to the Queens DA. The Lochans had allegedly left Queens to stay at a Long Island hotel after Saturday’s shooting, the New York Post reported.
It’s not clear if Ashram Lochan and Young are connected, or what Lochan’s involvement in the shooting is, but NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea acknowledged that the violence stemmed from a dispute over a shared driveway. “That’s what really makes you shake your head here,” Shea said on NY1 Wednesday. “People out enjoying themselves and over a minor occurrence like that, inconsequential really, and then you have somebody connected to one of the houses come back and perpetrate this act.”
“Enough is enough. Illegal guns are the scourge of our city. We must get as many guns as possible out of circulation to keep our Queens families safe. The defendants in this case will be prosecuted for hiding a stash of weapons and ammunition,” said Queens DA Melinda Katz in a statement Saturday.
Ashram Lochan’s lawyer Edwin Schulman declined to comment Saturday beyond saying his client “has never been arrested before, so this is obviously a new experience.”
Elizabeth Lochan’s lawyer Michael Horn said at her arraignment there wasn’t enough evidence to prove she knew about the existence of the guns at her home and that she had stayed at the hotel to avoid the media, the Post reported: “The press is there constantly, and the fact that my client moved to a hotel for a day or two to get away from the mayhem doesn’t make her someone who is fleeing the jurisdiction,” Horn said.
Ashram Lochan was ordered held without bail, and Elizabeth Lochan had her bail set at $75,000, with the conditions of home confinement and electronic monitoring, according to the New York Post.
The Lochans are due back in court June 17th and face up to seven years in prison each if convicted.
Justin’s death drew immediate condemnation, with Mayor Bill de Blasio promising the boy’s parents to find the assailant, and Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers asking the Queens District Attorney to “move with haste to ensure justice is fully served and this alleged murderer is no longer able to hurt any member of the public again.”
Justin would have turned 11 years old Tuesday, and was set to graduate from Challenge Prep Charter School Thursday.