Ex-con, 60, arrested for fatal shooting outside Harlem pizzeria

A 60-year-old ex-con has been arrested for a fatal shooting outside a Harlem pizzeria, police said Tuesday.

Tyrone Holley, who was paroled less than two years ago after spending 17 years in prison, was nabbed Jan. 31 and charged with murder and gun possession.

Holley allegedly killed Omar Espinal, 39, the evening of Jan. 7 in what police at the time said appeared to be a drug-related shooting.

The victim was sitting in his Honda Civic on W. 135th St. near Broadway when the gunman pulled up in an SUV about 6 p.m., NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said.

Police investigate after a person was found shot in a car on W. 135th St. in Manhattan on Jan. 7, 2024. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)
Police investigate shooting on W. 135th St. in Manhattan on Jan. 7. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)

The shooter circled the block and then double-parked behind Espinal for several minutes before getting out of the SUV and approaching the victim, Kenny said.

“[The] perpetrator walks up to the passenger side of the car, opens the door, reaches in, there’s a struggle and shots fired,” Kenny said.

Espinal, blasted in the chest, was rushed to Mount Sinai Morningside but could not be saved.

The victim lived in Washington Heights but used to drive to Harlem to eat at Pizza del Valle, according to a worker who witnessed the shooting.

The killer “came with a gun and shot the person in the car two times,” said the employee. “It was one guy.”

Police investigate after a person was found shot in a car outside 619 West 135th Street in Manhattan, New York City on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)
Police investigate shooting on W. 135th St. in Manhattan on Jan. 7. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)

Espinal had eight prior arrests, including a federal case in 2013 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell, Kenny said. The shooting victim was sentenced to five years in prison for the crime and was released on parole in 2020, records show.

Holley, meanwhile, has served three stints in state prison. He lives in the Bronx, according to cops, and is being held without bail for the Harlem slaying.

He was paroled in March 2022 after participating in prison programs that allowed for his sentence to be reduced. Records show he had served 17 years of a 20 years to life sentence for robbery.

Previously, Holley was paroled in 2002 following a drug conviction in 1989. Before that, records show Holley served almost two years in the mid-80s for a weapons conviction.

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