Baisley House resident accused in murder spree that killed bus rider

Donnell Tucker holds a photo of his cousin 18-year-old Keith Murrell, who was shot and killed Friday. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A resident of the Baisley Houses was held without bail Saturday on charges he murdered his girlfriend’s son and a man riding the Q111 bus in Jamaica Friday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Damel Burton, 34, of 163-11 Foch Blvd. in Jamaica, allegedly shot 18-year-old Keith Murrell, his girlfriend’s son, 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.

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 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 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 and was never violent, although he also said the 34-year-old had just finished a seven-year prison stint for armed robbery.

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

A security guard at the Rochdale Village building where Gilkes lived said his family was not taking questions from reporters.

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.

Updated 4:27 pm, December 5, 2011
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