NEW YORK -- A man's death from a gang shooting 49 years ago has become the oldest reclassified homicide in New York Police Department history, a police official said.
William Jenkins, a member of the Viceroy street gang, was 18 when he was shot through the stomach and back by a rival Dragon member in Spanish Harlem Oct. 21, 1960, police records show.
The shooting rendered Jenkins a paraplegic, The New York Times said.
After Jenkins, who continued his life of crime from a wheelchair, died March 13 at age 66, the city medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide due to infectious complications caused by the gunshot wounds, the newspaper said.
Even though the shooting occurred in 1960, it is counted as one of 92 homicides in New York City this year. Five other homicides this year were linked to injuries from previous years, the Times said.
"I can't believe this," 64-year-old George Lemus, one of the people prosecuted for the shooting, told the newspaper.
He was 13 when he participated in the shooting with his 17-year-old brother and was imprisoned for a year and half for the shooting. His brother, Robert, who died a decade ago, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Lemus, who turned his life around, became a men's clothing designer and runs a computer repair business.
The victim's brother, Samuel Jenkins, questioned how his brother's death could be attributed to long-ago violence rather than to his brother's lifelong medical problems and recent acute health deterioration.
He told the Times the whole matter was better off left in the past.
"It's kind of old, and it was kid stuff then," Jenkins said.
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