Brooklyn man killed in Morris Park skirmish

Brooklyn man killed in Morris Park skirmish
Arthur cusano

A Bronx resident has been arrested on weapon and drug possession charges following a clash with a another man he allegedly killed in self-defense at his Morris Park home.

Joseph Matos, 26, of 1651 Tomlinson Avenue, was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree criminal possession of a firearm.

According to the indictment obtained from the district attorney’s office, Matos fired a firearm from inside the residence on the morning of Friday, August 11, at 21-year-old Michael Mendoza of Brooklyn, who was standing on Matos’s back porch while holding a shotgun.

Police responded to a 911 report of a man shot at the home at approximately 9:26 a.m.

Mendoza was found shot near the home and transported to Jacobi Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said Matos was not charged with murder or manslaughter because the DA’s office determined the killing was in self-defense.

Matos was also charged with both criminal and unlawful possession of marijuana after the drug was found in his home, according to the indictment.

He had previously been convicted of fourth-degree Criminal Possession of Marijuana in 2015, according to the indictment.

Bail was set at $10,000 cash or $15,000 bond. It was not known if Matos was still in custody as of press time.

Neighbor Maria Battaglia said she and other neighborhood residents had grown increasingly upset about activity at 1651 Tomlinson since new tenants moved in several months ago on the ground floor.

She said loud music and other noise, several unruly dogs and sketchy late night activity had become the new normal at the site.

“The woman who lived there passed away and a man bought it,” she said. “He doesn’t live here, he just rents it out.”

“I saw who moved in, it’s just a bunch of kids in their twenties,” she said. “There is a lot of activity in and out, motorcycles going up and down the driveway. All the neighbors are angry.”

Battaglia said she heard two gunshots early Friday morning and later found that a stretch of street closed off with police tape for the weekend due to a crime scene investigation.

“I wasn’t able to move my car for three days,” she said.

Records obtained through the NYC Department of Finance show the three-family home was purchased by Florjan and Albana Pepa of Howard Beach, Queens, in April of 2016.

When reached for comment at his Flushing businesses, Tecno Stone Inc., Florjan Pepa said he had heard about the incident but said he had been out of town when it happened and knew little about it.

Pepa said he was unaware of any recent complaints by neighbors, and denied his tenants had been causing any disturbances.

He said his sister lives in the house and leases out the other two apartments.

“I sent my daughter to find out what happened and she said she could not get any information,” he said.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.