Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced on Aug. 14 that Ahkhazyah Wright, of Roosevelt, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder and other charges related to a 2017 shooting in Uniondale. Two of the people injured in the shooting were Malvernites.
“This defendant’s violent outburst could have killed his innocent victims, and his reckless conduct left them with permanent injuries,” Singas said in a news release.
At a house party on July 23, 2017, at approximately 2:40 a.m., a friend told Kyle Richard, a Malverne High School alumnus, that a woman, then 18, was screaming for help in the bathroom. He and a friend, Sulaiman Ania, broke the door open, and saw the attacker with his hand around the woman’s neck, which Richard described as a rape attempt. Another friend, Jewell Stewart also helped to intervene.
Wright let the woman go and left the bathroom, and Richard confronted him outside the house. What angered Richard most, he recounted, was the grin on the attacker’s face. Wright then pulled out a gun, shot three times and ran away. Richard was hit once in each leg, and the third bullet whistled past him.
Shortly after Richard returned to the house, he heard more shots. Another friend, Michael Abiola, had been shot twice, once in his left arm and once in his back. Abiola said he had left the party to pick up food, and when he returned, the attacker came back and shot aimlessly outside the house.
An ambulance rushed the two friends to the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where both were treated.
Wright, 19, was convicted by a jury on June 18 to three counts of attempted murder in the second degree, two counts of assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
“It’s been a long journey, and I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights because of that incident,” Richard said. “I’m glad it’s finally over with, and I’m glad the court brought justice to everyone affected by this, especially the young girl.”
A former linebacker and varsity team captain for SUNY Cortland’s football team, Richard thought his football career was over. He was told that the bullets missed major arteries by only a few millimeters. But he returned to the field in September of 2017. He dedicated his season to Abiola.
Former Vice President Joe Biden recognized Richard at the national Biden Courage Awards in Manhattan last year. The award he received honors young adults who work to prevent sexual assault. Richard, who was also awarded the Next Generation Award last year at an upstate gala for Kristin’s Fund — a Deerfield, N.Y., charity that aims to end domestic violence through prevention, education and awareness campaigns — said that the incident inspired him to speak out.
“It’s kind of a different life that I have with all this recognition,” Richard told the Herald in a 2018 story. “But with it, I understand that I have a lot of responsibility.”
Since then, Richard, now 22, has participated in public forums with groups such as Safe Center of Long Island, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide resources to assist in saving and changing the lives of the victims of domestic or dating abuse, child abuse, and rape and sexual assault.
“I want to do whatever I can to get the word out and to raise awareness for others,” Richard said.