Man murdered on Q111 bus by ex-con: DA

Passenger Marvin Gilkes was shot and killed on the Q111 bus near the intersection of Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue. Photo by Kendall Rodriguez
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A resident of the Baisley Houses allegedly told police he murdered his girlfriend’s son Friday out of revenge and that he killed a man on the Q111 bus and shot another passenger minutes later because he thought the victims he had robbed in the past were sending people to stalk him, according to police statements submitted to Queens Criminal Court.

Damel Burton, 34, of 163-11 Foch Blvd. in Jamaica, was held without bail Saturday on charges he murdered his girlfriend’s son, 18-year-old Keith Murrell, and Marvin Gilkes, a man riding the Q111 bus in Jamaica Friday, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Burton allegedly shot Murrell in the chest once between 3:40 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. Friday inside an apartment they shared on the second floor of the Baisley Houses, Brown said.

In statements made to police, Burton claimed he shot Murrell because the 18-year-old stabbed him in January.

Murrell jumped from his window to a grassy area below and was helped across the street, where he collapsed, Brown said.

The 18-year-old, who a cousin said had dreams of being a mechanic, was later pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital, the DA said.

Burton then left the apartment and in an attempt to escape a police pursuit, boarded a Q111 bus at the Parsons-Archer terminal and allegedly shot a second man, Marvin Gilkes, in the back of the head, the DA said.

Burton, who was recently released from a seven-year prison sentence on armed robbery, allegedly told police interviewing him at the 103rd Precinct that he was being followed “by people who were out to get him. People that he doesn’t know but those people know the victims of the people he has robbed. People have been trying to get him wherever he goes.”

Burton then allegedly opened fire on a second bus passenger, Jajuan Lipsey, and shot him in the face, the DA said.

Gilkes was pronounced dead at the scene, while Lipsey’s injuries are not life-threatening, Brown said.

A security guard at the Rochdale Village building where Gilkes lived said Saturday his family was not taking questions from reporters, but his wife left a poster in memory of him near the Parsons-Archer subway stop.

“To Marvin, my loving husband. I stll think I’m dreaming!! R.I.P. until we meet again I will always LOVE YOU!!.” the poster said.

A spokeswoman for Brown said Burton was arraigned Saturday and held without bail.

Murrell’s cousin, Donnell Tucker, said he was about to finish school to become a mechanic.

“He was a nice, jolly kid,” said Tucker, 27. “He always had a smile on his face. He wasn’t like a troublemaker. We didn’t see this coming.”

Tucker said Burton kept to himself.

“Damel was quiet. You never know what’s going through a quiet person’s mind,” Tucker said.

Brown said in a statement that Burton’s alleged actions “will not be tolerated, especially aboard public transportation.

“These shootings are particularly disturbing for having exploded during an otherwise routine afternoon bus ride filled with shoppers, students and ordinary people returning from work,” the DA said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 12:16 am, December 7, 2011
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