Ravenswood man gunned down

Jay Davis (l.) and Sandra Davis hold up a picture with messages for their nephew, Shaka Ryan, who was shot in a liquor store a few blocks from their Ravenswood Houses apartment. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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Ravenswood Houses resident Sandra Davis said she was wondering how she would pay for the burial of her nephew, 37-year-old Shaka Ryan, after he was shot in a liquor store a few blocks away Saturday night.

“When he got up, he said, ‘Aunt Sandra, Uncle Jay, I’ll be right back,’” Davis said.

Davis said when her son told her soon after that Ryan had died, Davis thought he had gone to bed.

After responding to a 911 call at 7:15 p.m., NYPD officers found Ryan inside the Solomon Z Liquor Store, at 24-04 34th Ave., with bullet wounds in his torso and left leg, authorities said. The EMS workers who arrived on scene took Ryan to Mount Sinai Queens Hospital in Astoria, where he was later pronounced dead, police said.

The NYPD had not made any arrests as of Tuesday afternoon press time.

Ryan pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1995 and was sentenced to 11 to 22 years in prison, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Davis said Ryan spent 12 years in jail. When Ryan was released two years ago, he went to live with Davis at her Ravenswood apartment on 36th Avenue since both of his parents had died. Davis, the sister of Ryan’s father, had looked after Ryan when he was a child.

“They never go away,” she said of Ryan coming back to live with her.

Davis said despite his crime he was a lovable person who had respect in Ravenswood Houses.

“I don’t want nobody judging him,” Davis said. “What he did, he did. He [God] forgave what he did.”

A memorial of lit candles and an empty bottle of vodka was set up outside Davis and Ryan’s building. Davis said she was hoping a crime victims’ group could help her pay for Ryan’s burial.

The liquor store where Ryan was shot is located at the intersection of the Queensview Co-Op and the Ravenswood Houses projects. Some area residents said they heard the shots.

“At first I thought they were firecrackers because they weren’t really loud,” said resident April Hatcher.

She said she had been getting dressed in her home and ready to leave when she heard four or five shots.

Hatcher said she found the incident sad and shocking.

“I’m not surprised to see the cops are here, because they’re always here, but as far as violence, yes,” she said.

Chris Fotiou, who lives in the co-ops, said he had not been sure the loud noises were shots when he was inside his apartment, but realized what happened when he saw the blue police tape and cop cars in front of the liquor store.

“You have your housing projects, you have your crime element,” he said of the incident.

Last year 32-year-old Guimmia Villia was shot inside a pharmacy near the 34th Avenue and 24th Street intersection, two doors down from Saturday night’s shooting. The suspected shooter, Alex Figueroa, later shot and killed himself.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 6:20 pm, April 11, 2012
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