New York City Pastor Influential In Brooklyn Shooter's Surrender

New York City Pastor Influential in Brooklyn Shooter's Surrender

A politically-connected Brooklyn pastor claims he was instrumental in the surrender of a suspect charged with shooting and killing a 48 year old man on a subway.

New York City Pastor Bishop Lamor Whitehead assisted in the surrender of Andrew Abdullah, a man charged with the killing of Goldman Sachs employee Daniel Enriquez on Sunday. The church leader claimed that he intended to hand-deliver the suspect straight to his friend, Mayor Eric Adams, who was supposed to await his delivery at the police precinct.

In an interview with the New York Post, Whitehead said that he did "what I needed to do " in order to "protect the community" from 25 year old Abdullah after Sunday's unprovoked shooting that left one man dead on board a Q train in Manhattan. On Tuesday, Abdullah was arrested outside of the Manhattan Legal Aid Society office after he was taken there by his own family.

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Whitehead's Assistance in Suspect's Arrest Met With Controversy

The New York City pastor's involvement in Abdullah's arrest and his relationship to the city mayor was met with controversy, especially given Whitehead's criminal past. The Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches bishop served a five-year prison sentence for several counts of identity fraud and grand larceny before his release in 2013, when he later formed a friendship with Mayor Adams. The pastor also appeared at several high-profile events with Mayor Adams, who was then a Brooklyn borough president before becoming mayor in 2021.

Whitehead claimed that Abdullah's family are his congregants with whom he has a close relationship. This relationshhip grew deeper when the family lost a teenage member. The New York City pastor said that the Abdullahs "needed me to help them through the process. They didn't know what to do."

"I told them first of all, he needs to surrender," Whitehead recounted. "They spoke to him and said...'We trust you Bishop. He's going to surrender.'"

Whitehead instructed the family to bring Abdullah to the precinct but they insisted on speaking with a lawyer first. The New York City pastor then spoke to the mayor, who he said would be supportive and trusted in Whitehead's plan for Abdullah's surrender. The plan was to get Abdullah to walk with the pastor to the precinct so he could be turned over to the mayor at the 5th Precinct. But when the pastor met them at the attorneys' office, Abdullah stepped out of the car and was "bum-rushed" by marshals.

Lawyers Decried Abdullah's Arrest

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Abdullah, released a statement following his arrest saying that he was already planning to turn himself in to the police when he was "needlessly ambushed out front of our Manhattan Trial Office by City Marshalls, denied of his opportunity to first consult with counsel.," CBS News reported. They called it an "inappropriate and unwarranted" manner of arrest.

New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell defended their actions, calling Abdullah a "repeat offender" who was "given every leeway by the criminal justice system."

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