DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Preet Bharara
, United States Attorney
Contact: Charles Mulham

Three Charged in Manhattan Federal Court in Connection with June 18, 2015, Upper West Side Murder

Defendants Alleged to Be Members of Violent Robbery Crew

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Delano A. Reid, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of charges against ZUBEARU BETTIS, STEPHEN ADAMS, and MICHAEL ADAMS.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “A shopkeeper at a small store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan tragically lost his life last month when he was shot and killed during a robbery of his store.  My Office and our law enforcement partners will ensure that those responsible for such senseless violence will be held to account.”

ATF Special-Agent-in-Charge Delano A. Reid stated: “With the arrest of Michael Adams, the reign of terror this alleged murderous robbery crew perpetrated on our streets comes to an end.  The crew’s violent acts necessitated a quick response from law enforcement.  I am grateful to all the investigators and prosecutors involved.  Their hard work made it possible to quickly identify and arrest each of the crew members so that they no longer pose a threat to the citizens of New York City.  The ATF is committed to combating violent crime and will invest its resources and personnel as needed to ensure that the quality of life in this great city is not diminished by those who have little or no regard for human life.”    

NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton  stated: “Investigators wasted no time in tracking down and holding those persons allegedly responsible for this violent robbery, which ended in the senseless death of shopkeeper Bubacarr Camera.  I want to thank the NYPD detectives and our law enforcement partners who were integral to these arrests, which I hope will offer some consolation to the family who lost their loved one to a meaningless criminal act.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and other documents in the public record:

On June 18, 2015, ZUBEARU BETTIS, STEPHEN ADAMS, and MICHAEL ADAMS shot and killed a shopkeeper, Bubacarr Camera, in the course of a robbery of a store located at 906 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Two days before that murder, on June 16, 2015, ZUBEARU BETTIS and STEPHEN ADAMS robbed another shopkeeper at a store located at 2251 7th Avenue, in Manhattan.  During that robbery, BETTIS brandished and discharged a firearm, while ADAMS physically accosted the victim.

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BETTIS, 44, and STEPHEN ADAMS, 27, both of the Bronx, are charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, which firearm was brandished and discharged, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death.  MICHAEL ADAMS, 29, of the Bronx, is charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death.  If convicted, all three defendants face a maximum of life in prison or death, and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.  The maximum and minimum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the judge.

MICHAEL ADAMS was arrested this morning in the Bronx and was presented this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger and ordered detained.  BETTIS and STEPHEN ADAMS were previously arrested on June 26, 2015, and ordered detained.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the SPARTA Task Force – which comprises agents and detectives of the ATF, the NYPD, and the U.S. Marshals Service –  and of detectives from the NYPD’s Manhattan North Homicide Squad and the 24th Precinct Detective Squad.  He also thanked the New York County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Lenow is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

 

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Field Division: New York Field Division