A Buffalo man apologized Friday in court for firing into a crowd last year and wounding two innocent bystanders – a 14-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy who was riding his tricycle near his grandfather’s house in the city’s Bailey-Kensington neighborhood.
“I’m sorry,” Angelo Pulliam told State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller. “I made a mistake.”
“How dare you take a gun and fire into a crowd?” the judge responded before sentencing him to 15 years in prison.
“It’s not a mistake. It’s a crime,” he added, raising his voice.
Boller said he felt sorry for the victims, who were both hospitalized in critical condition but recovered, and for their families.
The victims and their families were not in court, but they submitted letters to the judge describing the impact of the shootings on their lives.
The 3-year-old, who was hit by one bullet in the chest and suffered a collapsed lung, is afraid of going outside and rides his tricycle only in his family’s basement, the toddler’s mother indicated in her letter.
Pulliam and his family also sent the judge letters asking for leniency for the 19-year-old defendant.
The judge said he found the letters repugnant. “If this had happened to your 3-year-old, would you still be asking for leniency?” he said,
As he sentenced Pulliam to prison and five years of post-release supervision, one of the defendant’s family members cried loudly as she left the courtroom.
Pulliam pleaded guilty as charged last month to one count of attempted second-degree murder in the teenager’s shooting, two counts of first-degree assault in the shooting of both victims and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
The plea came as jury selection was about to begin in the May 12 shootings on Fennimore Avenue.
Pulliam had faced up to 25 years in prison on each of the attempted murder and assault counts, up to 15 years on one of the weapon charges and up to seven years on the other weapon count.
But the judge capped the prison sentence at 15 years, since the plea spared the victims and their families a trial.
Pulliam, who was 18 at the time of the shootings, fired a .40-caliber pistol into the crowd around 8:25 p.m. May 12 in retaliation for a shooting two days earlier on Roebling Avenue, said Assistant District Attorney John Patrick Feroleto.
The prosecutor said Pulliam’s reckless gunfire wounded the two innocent victims.
The 14-year-old, who was standing on the sidewalk with some friends, was shot in the chest and leg, collapsing a lung and breaking his leg.
Police said a stray bullet hit the toddler who was riding his tricycle on the sidewalk about two houses down from the shooting scene.
After the shootings, Pulliam ran to a vehicle that had earlier dropped him off on Davidson Avenue, which runs parallel to Fennimore, and the vehicle took off, police said.
Pulliam was arrested June 1 at his home on Thornton Avenue where police seized a defaced loaded gun that had not been used in the shooting.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick B. Shanahan also prosecuted the case.