Prosecutors say a fight among three women led to the deadly shooting of Danny Russell last September.
When the mother of Russell’s child was attacked by two women on Catherine Street the evening of Sept. 1, Russell came outside to intervene, according to prosecutor Philip Mueller of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. But then, Mueller said, another man, now identified as 24-year-old Gammen Knight, came out from between two houses and opened fire on Russell, 44, near the corner of Catherine Street and Victory Avenue.
When Russell fell, the suspect stood over Russell and fired several more shots into him, Mueller said.
“It’s clear who his target was and clear what he wanted to accomplish,” Mueller said.
Knight appeared Thursday afternoon in City Court to answer one count of second-degree murder. He is being held without bail.
City police said within days of Russell’s killing that the man they believed was the shooter was in custody on other charges. Knight remained in custody throughout and is now being held on the murder charge.
Family members said Russell lived in New York City and was in Schenectady for the weekend to celebrate his niece’s birthday. The family went to Lake George that day to spend time at the beach, then returned earlier in the evening. Russell left his brother’s apartment shortly before he was shot.
Knight is the second person charged in Russell’s death; his girlfriend, Iris Vasquez, 28, of Elmer Avenue, was accused in December of lying to police about the homicide and assaulting the mother of Russell’s child just before the shooting. She was charged then with first-degree hindering prosecution, a felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.
Mueller said Vasquez was out that evening looking for Russell and instead found the mother of Russell’s child. Vasquez and another woman then started a fight with her, Mueller said, with the two at one point pepper-spraying the victim.
Shortly after the fight started, Russell exited the nearby home and attempted to intervene, Mueller said.
Mueller declined to discuss why authorities believe Knight opened fire on Russell. He also declined to discuss why Vasquez was looking for Russell. He noted Vasquez is not charged in the murder itself, but he said the investigation is continuing.
Vasquez also faces attempted murder and attempted assault charges in an unrelated July 26 shooting on Becker Street. She is accused of opening fire on a porch containing several people. No one was hurt.