Prosecutors say 3 shooting suspects have gang ties

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | (L-R) Eric Baldwin Jr., Jasmine Parsons, Jeffrey Despeines and Jordan Harrell, were all arraigned on felony reckless endangerment charges Thursday morning.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | (L-R) Eric Baldwin Jr., Jasmine Parsons, Jeffrey Despeines and Jordan Harrell, were all arraigned on felony reckless endangerment charges Thursday morning.

Four suspects who allegedly shot up a Third Street house during a drive-by shooting Wednesday night answered to felony charges before a judge Thursday in Riverhead.

Jasmine Parsons, 19, of Mastic; Jordan Harrell, 18, of Medford; Eric Baldwin Jr., 18, of Bellport; and Jeffrey Despeines, 21, of Centereach all appeared in Town Justice Court as members of a family that lives in the targeted house were on hand to watch.

Authorities said the suspects fired several rounds into the house, where the family, including two young children, ages 8 and 10, were staying on the first floor.

A husband and wife also live upstairs in the home, and bullets ripped through their bedroom window and a wall during the shooting, the husband, Wilmer Nunez, told the News-Review outside the home Thursday.

Two of the four defendants had previously been identified by law enforcement as members of the Bloods street gang, said Riverhead police Detective Sgt. Joseph Loggia, though he did not say which.

Despite the gang affiliations, Sgt. Loggia said he could not say the shooting incident itself was gang related.

The four suspects were arrested soon after the drive-by, when a responding officer who heard the shots then trailed a tan Ford Taurus as it left the scene just before 9 p.m., authorities said.

The car was stopped on nearby Peconic Avenue and the four were arrested after the officer spotted spent shell casings on the Taurus’ floorboard, police said.

RELATED: ‘You start thinking, what if?’ Riverhead cop on arrests after drive-by

Prosecutors said Mr. Despeines was the shooter in the drive-by, firing seven rounds into the two-family house.

During the arrests, Mr. Despeines was found to be in possession of a loaded Smith & Wesson .38- caliber semiautomatic handgun that police say was used in the shooting, according to court documents.

Mr. Despeines has no prior criminal history, but does appear to have gang affiliations, prosecutors said.

He was charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment, all felonies. Bail was set at $250,000 cash or $750,000 bond.

Mr. Baldwin has prior misdemeanor convictions and had an aggravated harassment case from August 2012 adjourned with the possibility of dismissal. He also appears to be involved in a gang, prosecutors said.

Mr. Baldwin was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony, for his part in the shooting and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, after police found he had brass knuckles.

Mr. Baldwin was held on $100,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.

Like two of his co-defendants, Mr. Harrell has an “apparent gang affiliation,” and has two pending felony charges in First District Court in Central Islip, including one for second-degree assault, prosecutors said.

Mr. Harrell was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and waived his right to bail.

Prosecutors said Ms. Parsons was the driver in the shooting. She has two prior felony convictions, though both have been sealed by the courts. Prosecutors did not mention gang affiliations when it came to Ms. Parsons.

She appeared in court wearing a sweatshirt that read, “Living Young Wild and Free.”

This was not Ms. Parsons’ first arrest by Riverhead Town police. She was charged with second-degree robbery in May 2011 after she allegedly knocked a woman to the ground and stole her pocketbook, according to News-Review archives.

Ms. Parsons was held on $200,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond for her alleged role in the shooting.

Ms. Parsons, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Despeines are due back in court Friday morning after the court appoints them legal aid.

Mr. Harrell is due back in court on Feb. 19, court officials said.

All four are being held at Suffolk County jail.

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Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this report incorrectly indicated the suspects had entered pleas at arraignment proceedings Thursday in Justice Court. They did not. Three of the suspects were set to re-appear in court Friday. A grand jury will be hearing the case Tuesday, Feb. 26.