Police officers pay for little girl’s birthday trip to Disney after a felon kills her entire family

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BROOKLYN, NY — New York City detectives involved in a gruesome case of a father slaying his daughter’s entire family on her birthday decided to raise money to send the 9-year-old survivor to Disney World to try to bring some joy into her shattered world.

Responding officers, who work out of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad, the 73rd precinct and PSA #2, were so heartbroken by the girl’s experience that they raised “several thousand dollars” to send her to the amusement park with relatives, the New York Post reported.

On April 5, the girl hid in a closet while her father, Joseph McCrimon, 46, shot her entire family during a domestic dispute. The victims included her 45-year-old mother, Rasheeda Barzey, and two older half-sisters, Solei Spears, 20, and Chloe Spears, 16.

The father, a former felon, then shot himself, and the killings were all done on the little girl’s ninth birthday.

The Seattle Times reported on McCrimon’s extensive criminal history:

“McCrimon was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in 1995, after Hempstead police said he shot a sanitation worker in the back on Halloween two years earlier.

“The victim, Eugene Grant, Jr., 28, had just broken up a street fight involving McCrimon’s nephew. He left behind five children, according to Newsday.

“McCrimon, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, claimed that the gun fell out of his pocket and went off while the victim was reaching for it, according to court documents.

“McCrimon was incarcerated in March 1995, according to state corrections records. He was granted conditional release in September 2000 but sent back to prison for an unspecified violation in February 2003, state records show.

“McCrimon was released from Sing Sing Correctional Facility months later, in August 2003, after serving his sentence.

“In 2013, McCrimon was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing a bank in the Hudson Valley, court papers said. He later denied committing the crime and convinced an appeals court to reduce his sentence.

“In a pre-sentencing memo, federal prosecutors noted that he did not accept responsibility for either the robbery or the killing and said that he was ‘an unlikely candidate for rehabilitation.’”

In a NY1 interview, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the shooter entered the apartment with at least two weapons:

“We were just reviewing some of the body-worn camera [footage] of when the initial cops entering that location encounter that job. It’s just a terrible situation all the way around. We have the video of the incident where the individual then leaves and takes his own life a short distance away.”

A .38 revolver and a semi-automatic handgun were recovered from the alleged shooter and the location where he was discovered, according to police sources.

The girl managed to call 911 around 11:20 p.m. and told an operator:

“Daddy was coming over for my birthday, and he shot people.”

The girl was crying, but was not injured.

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NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said:

“She was weeping and crying [that she] ‘didn’t have presents.’ It was heartbreaking to hear that. We found her hidden in a closet.” 

The Detectives Endowment Association did not say how much money was raised, but it was enough to send the girl’s aunt, uncle, two cousins and grandma to accompany her for the trip while JetBlue agreed to contribute the plane tickets, according to the report. 

In addition to the Disney World passes, the officers also gifted the girl an American Girl doll, a mini-shield, a certificate making her an honorary detective and other DEA regalia, the union said.

The girl’s aunt and uncle are now taking care of her New York Post reported, and the officers also gave them a few items as well.

The detectives who worked the case were honored last Friday during the DEA’s Detectives of the Month presentation New York Post reported. 

Detectives John Bartek, Erick Parks and Jean Louis of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad along with Detectives Trevor White and Rene Orrego of the 73rd precinct and Det. Felicia Richards of PSA #2 were all honored and helped with the fundraising drive.

Naequa Taylor, who lives in the building where the killings occurred, told New York Post she did not witness anything or know the family, but noted McCrimon’s apparent suicide was cowardly:

“So, he killed himself — he’s a coward. You kill your whole family, then you kill yourself. That’s not good.”

Taylor, who is pregnant, also described the building as “not a safe environment” due to a lack of security. She also plans to move out and said:

“This building needs to be shut down or they need security. Our kids don’t even go outside. What if that was me going out there and I was in the crossfire before he ended his life?”

New York City officials, who voted to defund the police last year, now admit there has been an increase in domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic. Many doctors and advocates said they saw an increase in domestic violence as lockdown restrictions kept people inside and contributed to added tension and pressure on families.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who cut $1 billion from the New York City police budget, said at a press conference that the killings of Barzey and her children were “a horrible, horrible situation” and added:

“On top of all the extraordinary challenges of this pandemic we have seen another horrible blight, which is more domestic violence.”

The mayor said the city had redoubled its efforts to support groups that assist victims of violence in the home.

A resident in an apartment below Barzey and her children told New York Post that when Barzey and McCrimon previously fought, it was really bad. However, on the night of the killings, the neighbor said:

“Last night, there were no words, no argument. Just ‘pop, pop,’ and after the first pop, she started wailing. Then there was three more, and there was silence. Dead silence.

“I thought, ‘Should I call 911?’ But, ‘No, you’re not sure what it was.’ Five seconds later, the sirens were coming.

“I’m just so thankful that baby … was in the closet.”

The neighbor also said the household above her was peaceful until the times when McCrimon would show up:

“The fights weren’t daily. … arguing back and forth, banging, and then it’s over. I would hear banging on the wall, her screaming and him yelling at her.

“It was a cumulative thing that happened. … This was the first time I heard them in a long time.”

Barzey’s former brother-in-law, Hasley Derosena, told New York Post that McCrimon was mentally ill:

“I know he was always a little bit off.

“He had a temper. He was not an abusive person. He had a mental illness. He was hospitalized before. He tried to kill himself, but nothing like this.”

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