2009-10-21 / Features

Suspected Drug Dealer Shot Down In Astoria

Gunfire shattered the silence of an Astoria neighborhood on the night of October 18, when a volley of shots cut down an alleged drug dealer who apparently tried to hide the shooting from police.

Detectives at the 114th Precinct Squad are seeking help from the public to identify and locate the suspect or suspects who fired six rounds into a vehicle parked on 24th Street and 20th Avenue at about 11:15 p.m. on Sunday night, striking Michael Chatfield, 31, in the face and stomach.

Police sources said the fatally injured Chatfield managed to drive himself to Mount Sinai Queens, where he died shortly after arrival. Law enforcement sources said investigators believe Chatfield drove himself to the hospital in a failed attempt to hide the shooting from police. Sources said there is no record of Chatfield calling 911 following the shooting.

Emergency Room doctors at Mount Sinai notified police of the shooting immediately after Chatfield arrived at the hospital. Sources said detectives who responded to the call were able to speak with Chatfield before he died to obtain details surrounding the shooting.

Investigators who searched Chatfield’s vehicle recovered half-kilos of a white powdered substance, along with 50 to 60 bags of marijuana, police said. Police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to identify the unknown substance.

Detectives at the Astoria Boulevard stationhouse who recovered six shell casings and blood evidence at the site cordoned off the intersection as a crime scene and conducted a door-to-door canvass of the neighborhood in a search for witnesses or residents who may have heard the shooting.

A police spokesperson said investigators believe the shooting was drug related. “This victim was evidently not a good guy,” the spokesperson said.

The shooting is still under investigation, police said. There are no suspects and no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Crimestoppers Hotline at 1-899-577-TIPS. The Hotline is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect of suspects in the shooting.

—Liz Goff

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