By Christina Carrega
A Prospect Lefferts Garden man who is wanted for the murder of a Queens man was arrested on Friday following a two-hour-plus standoff with police.
Last year, Wilbert Bryant was indicted in Brooklyn Federal Court along with four others for charges in connection to the October 2017 death of Hani Kasem, the owner of Garden Valley Distribution in Ozone Park. Four of the co-conspirators were taken into custody and variously arraigned on a nine-count indictment as Bryant remained on the lam.
On Friday, police reported to Maple Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens around 5:30 a.m. to investigate a report of shots fired inside a home. Bryant, 54, allegedly barricaded himself inside an apartment until law enforcement authorities made their way in, the New York Post reported.
Bryant was taken into custody around 8 a.m. Friday morning and was scheduled to face Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo on Friday afternoon for the conspiracy to murder charges, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
If convicted, Bryant faces a minimum of 10 years to life in prison.
The five men are accused of working together to shake down 64-year-old Kasem to collect on a loan he had taken out to buy merchandise for his family-owned grocery distribution center.
Bryant and two other loan sharks, dressed in blazers, walked into the distribution center in Ozone Park on 101st Avenue. They pistol-whipped Kasem’s son before they killed Kasem as his son watched, prosecutors said.