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Bronx subway gunman ‘admitted to shooting’ straphanger William Alvarez

The gunman accused of killing a straphanger on a Bronx subway “admitted to shooting” the victim, according to prosecutors — but his lawyer argued he committed the violent act in self-defense.

Justin Herde, 24, rocked back and forth during his arraignment Tuesday in which prosecutors revealed he was “the actual shooter” in the murder of William Alvarez on a southbound D train as it pulled into the 182-183 Streets station Friday morning.

“He’s the one that pulled the trigger,” Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Rozenblum told the court.

“In a statement, he admitted to shooting the victim and it’s all on surveillance footage,” Rozenblum said.

Justin Herde “admitted to shooting” William Alvarez in a Bronx subway, prosecutors said. William Miller

Police said Herde and two alleged accomplices — Betty Cotto, 38, and Alfredo Trinidad, 42 — were aboard the train when one of the three sat down next to Alvarez, which ignited a verbal argument that quickly turned physical.

All three were battling with Alvarez and then Herde allegedly fired the gun, striking the straphanger at least one time in the torso before the trio ran off as the train pulled into the station, according to police.

Alvarez was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The trio of suspects were each charged by police with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.

Defense attorney Peter Laumann slammed the prosecution’s narrative as “pretty short,” instead claiming Herde acted out in self-defense.

William Alvarez was arguing with the trio before he was shot at least one time in the torso, according to cops. GoFundMe

“It wasn’t a one-way altercation. It was with somebody who was significantly larger than Mr. Herde who on information dragged Mr. Herde back onto the train during the assault,” Laumann said during the arraignment.

The lawyer also said that Cotto and Trinidad were not on the train when the shooting occurred.

“So there’s been a sorta three against one narrative that may not actually be borne out by evidence when that evidence is provided,” said Laumann.

Both Alfredo Trinidad and Herde allegedly admitted that the firearm belonged to Trinidad. William Miller

Laumann requested reasonable bail, but the judge opted to remand Herde saying the charges make him a flight risk and “it is not Mr. Herde’s first contact with the legal system.”

His alleged accomplices, Cotto and Trinidad, were also remanded during their own court appearance Tuesday as prosecutors said Trinidad was the owner of the weapon.

Betty Cotto was “seen fighting with the victim” and “assisting co-defendants during the time of the shooting,” prosecutors said. William Miller

Trinidad — who wore a ratty red sweatsuit and said nothing during his brief arraignment — gave the gun “to Justin Herde to carry when they were out because he didn’t want to get caught with said gun,” according to Ronzenblum.

Herde also admitted “that he was holding the gun for the co-defendant Trinidad,” Ronzenblum said.

Herde’s defense attorney claimed he was acting in self-defense against Alvarez. Matthew McDermott

The gun was allegedly found inside the Bronx apartment Trinidad shares with Cotto when cops and US Marshals executed a raid on Monday.

Herde wasn’t arrested alongside the pair during the raid. He was cuffed at the home he shares with his aunt and mother.

His elderly mother refused to comment to the press outside the courtroom. 

Although Cotto isn’t accused of handling the gun, prosecutors argued she was “seen fighting with the victim” and “assisting co-defendants during the time of the shooting.”

Defense attorney Peter Laumann argued Cotto and Trinidad weren’t on the train when the shooting occurred.

Trinidad’s next court appearance is Feb. 29. Herde and Cotto are both due back on March 1.

Written by SaleemBaloch

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