You are reading

AG James will not bring charges against off-duty cop who fatally shot an attacker in Woodside in 2021

Attorney General Letitia James will not bring charges against an NYPD cop who was off-duty when he was jumped outside LaBoom nightclub in Woodside and killed one of his attackers in 2021. (File photo by Mark Hallum)

April 4, 2023 By Bill Parry

Attorney General Letitia James announced on April 4 that she will not bring charges against an off-duty city cop who shot and killed 20-year-old Raymierik Lopez in 2021 outside the LaBoom nightclub in Woodside.

James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) released its report of its investigation into the shooting that occurred in the early morning of Dec. 16, 2021.

According to the investigation, off-duty NYPD Lieutenant Nathan Yabukov — who was 44 years old at the time of the shooting and a 15-year veteran of the NYPD assigned to the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn — was leaving the club on Northern Boulevard near 57th Street at around 3 a.m. and was sitting in the front seat of his Jaguar SUV waiting for a friend. Yabukov had his driver’s side door open within the parking lot of a Honda dealership across the intersection from the nightclub.

Another car pulled up next to Yabukov and Lopez and two other men in ski masks got out and approached Yabukov, according to the investigation. The assailants lunged at him and grabbed the gold chains he was wearing around his neck in an apparent robbery attempt. They exchanged gunfire and retreated. Lopez was shot in the chest and stomach and died at the scene as his accomplices fled the crime scene.

Police from the 108th Precinct in Long Island City responded to a 911 call of a shooting and found Yabukov lying in the parking lot bleeding from gunshot wounds to his body. EMS rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital Center. Officers found Lopez a half block west lying on a sidewalk next to a firearm. EMS transported him to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Detectives recovered two firearms including Yabukov’s service weapon. The two individuals who were with Lopez were apprehended within days of the shooting and are being prosecuted by the Queens district attorney’s office.

After a thorough investigation by the AG’s Department of Investigation, which included a review of security camera footage, witness interviews and crime scene analysis, OSI determined that just could not be disproved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial and thus criminal charges against the off-duty officer “were not warranted in this matter.”

Under New York’s justification law, a person may use deadly force to defend against the imminent use of deadly physical force by another. To convict a person of a crime when the defense of justification is raised at trial, the prosecution must disprove justification beyond a reasonable doubt. DOI interviewed Yabukov, who told them he “feared for his life” and believed he was going to be killed for his gold chains.

In this case, DOI determined that Yabukov was the victim of a robbery in progress and reasonably believed that his life was in danger. Under these circumstances, given the law and the evidence, a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that Yabukov was justified in his use of force, and OSI determined that criminal charges could not be pursued against him in this case.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

FIRST ON amNY | Over 100,000 NYCHA households have signed up for city’s free broadband and cable program

More than 100,000 households have signed up for a city program that offers public housing residents free internet and basic cable, Mayor Eric Adams’ office is set to announce Monday.

City Hall is taking a victory lap since more than 220,500 New York City Housing Authority residents — equating to over 100,000 households — across 202 developments have enrolled in the program, known as Big Apple Connect, since it was launched last fall. That means 75% of the households where the service is available have opted into it.

Community flocks to Jackson Heights for ‘dragtastic’ Queens Pride

New York City’s second-largest Pride celebration, and the first major Pride event taking place this month, kicked off Sunday, June 4, in Jackson Heights, Queens. The theme: Dragtastic.

“With ‘Dragtastic’ as our theme this year, we are saying to the world that we love drag and all it represents,” former New York City Councilmember and LGBT Caucus Chair Daniel Dromm said in a written statement.

NYPD marks opening of new wellness center at High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Queens

The NYPD OPTIONS program, students, staff and alumni of the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety held a ribbon-cutting to mark the opening of the school’s new OPTIONS wellness center. The wellness center will help to enhance the personal and professional development of youths through the activities available at this safe and creative space.

Among those on hand to speak about the meaning and impact of this wellness center were High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety (HSLEAPS) Principal Laura Van Deren, Office of Speaker Adrienne Adams Deputy Chief of Staff and HSLEAPS alumni Tyrell Hankerson, Queens South High Schools Deputy Superintendent Namita Dwarka, New York City Police Foundation Executive Director Greg Roberts, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs Mark Stewart and Police Officer and HSLEAPS alumni Terome Parham.

Ridgewood community group discusses local concerns, welcomes Civil Court candidate Sandra Pérez

The Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association kicked off the start of the month with a full meeting inside the basement of the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church, on 59-14 70th Ave., in Ridgewood, on Thursday, June 1. 

More than 50 guests, including the civic association’s board, occupied the intimate space and voiced a number of community concerns, including poor parking situations, rat infestations, improper garbage disposal, and bad landlords. 

Queens nurse relocates medical office to Forest Hills, hopes to inspire others to open their own practice

Stephanie M. Khan Family Practice in Forest Hills celebrated the opening of its new office at 110-78 Queens Blvd. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

Originally from Howard Beach, Stephanie Khan first started working in Forest Hills as a nurse practitioner during the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. During this time, Khan quickly became a popular presence in the community, offering home care services and vaccines to older adults in the area. 

Flushing native Jon Favreau receives honorary doctorate at Queens College 99th commencement ceremony

Flushing native and actor-director Jon Favreau received an honorary doctorate of fine arts at the Queens College 99th commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 1. 

Favreau attended Queens College from 1984 to 1987. His work in films such as “Elf,” “Zathura,” “Iron Man,” “Cowboys and Aliens,” “Chef,” “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King” is known around the world. He is a key industry influencer through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Queens lawmaker introduces bill in Congress to make Diwali a federal holiday

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng on May 26 announced the introduction of her bill in Congress to declare Diwali a federal holiday. 

Under Meng’s legislation, the Diwali Day Act, the Festival of Lights would become the 12th federally recognized holiday in the United States. Establishing a federal holiday for Diwali, and the day off it would provide, would allow families and friends to celebrate together, and demonstrate that the government values the diverse cultural makeup of the nation.