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Shock, outrage after Thomas Abreu charged in killing of 86-year-old Hamod Saeidi during series of drive-by shootings in Brooklyn & Queens

Thomas Abreu charged with killing man during shooting spree
Thomas Abreu charged with killing man during shooting spree 02:22

NEW YORK -- The man accused of randomly shooting people from a moving scooter this weekend was formally charged Monday morning. 

In Sunset Park, Brooklyn, thousands gathered to say goodbye to Hamod Saeidi, the man killed. 

There was heartbreak as nearly 2,000 people gathered to remember Saeidi, who was 86. 

"I just want to say he was not a father only. He was a brother, a friend. He was everything to us," Main Saeidi - the victim's son - said. 

Hamod Saeidi was murdered Saturday, when police said 25-year-old Thomas Abreu went on a shooting rampage, riding a scooter as he randomly fired at innocent people. 

"My father was a good man, a peaceful man. He loved to help people. All he wanted to do was go to the mosque and pray and that's when he got shot," Main Saeidi said. 

Details of the rampage

Police say just after 11 a.m. Saturday, Abreu began his rampage. It spanned about 30 minutes and involved six different locations from Richmond Hill, Queens, to Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. 

Police said he drove around on a scooter, firing at random.

Police said Abreu first opened fire at 11:10 a.m. on Ashford Street and Arlington Avenue in Brooklyn, hitting a 21-year-old pedestrian in the back. About 16 minutes later, authorities said Abreu shot 86-year-old Hamod Saeidi in the back at 108th Street and Jamaica Avenue. 

Saeidi was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where he later died. 

A minute after shooting Saeidi, prosecutors said Abreu shot at another pedestrian at the same location, but missed. 

Abreu's rampage continued, according to authorities, as he drove to 126th Street and Hillside Avenue and opened fire on a parked minivan, shooting the driver once in the head. The driver, 44, was hospitalized in critical condition. 

According to prosecutors, Abreu then drove to 131st and Jamaica Avenue and fired at another person on a scooter - but the person was not injured. 

A minute later, he shot a pedestrian who was crossing the street. The victim, 63, was hit in the shoulder. 

Police arrested Abreu at around 1 p.m. Saturday. He was found with a pistol, prosecutors said. 

"The streets of two boroughs were turned into scenes of terror as this defendant allegedly rode his scooter, shooting indiscriminately at pedestrians and others. Thank you to the NYPD for quickly apprehending the suspect. My office will hold him fully accountable and seek justice for the victims," Queen District Attorney Melinda Katz said. 

Surveillance video showed part of the 30-minute rampage. 

Monday, the accused gunman was virtually arraigned from his hospital bed on murder, attempted murder, and weapons charges. 

Police sources told CBS New York Abreu used an untraceable ghost gun. Officers found an extended ammo clip holding 22 bullets and numerous loose bullets in his bag. 

After his arrest, prosecutors said Abreu told police "The Russians are after me. The Chinese are after me. The Italians are after me. Everyone is wearing earpieces." 

When asked if he shot people, Abreu allegedly told investigators "They were after me. They're bad people." 

The judge asked why a psychiatric exam had not been requested. Abreu's defense attorney said he is still deciding whether one is appropriate in this case. 

Abreu is still being treated at the hospital for unknown injuries. Once he's released, the judge ordered him held without bail. 

Prosecutors plan to present the case to a grand jury Thursday. 

NYPD data show ghost guns in the city have increased dramatically since 2018. That year, officers made 17 ghost gun arrests. In 2021, that number skyrocketed to 263. 

Shock, outrage over senseless gun violence

Saeidi was laid to rest in a funeral service Monday. 

The Yemeni American Merchants Association held a news conference Monday afternoon in Brooklyn to express outrage over Saeidi's senseless death, along with the death of Bassam Khateeb, a Staten Island deli co-owner who was fatally shot in a robbery over the weekend

"Our community mourns the loss of Hamoud Saeidi and Bassam Khateeb, two innocent lives lost and a clear call for why more must be done to put an end to gun violence in New York and this country. YAMA stands together with the entire community, committed to fostering a climate of peace, unity, and security. We call upon our fellow merchants, community leaders, and citizens to unite during this critical time and work together to put an end to such senseless acts of gun violence," said Yemeni American Merchants Association Board Secretary Dr. Debbie Almontaser. 

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