Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Lawayne Smalls, of Far Rockaway, Queens, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree for a September 8, 2020, shooting that killed one man and injured two others.

District Attorney Katz said, “The defendant in this case has now admitted to a senseless shooting that took the life of one man and injured two others. A disagreement should never lead to bloodshed, sadly easy access to illegal firearms has resulted in far too many deaths in Queens County. We must stop the gun violence and rid our communities of these deadly, illegal weapons.”

Smalls, 19, of Beach 26th Street in Far Rockaway, Queens, pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The defendant will be sentenced on December 3, 2021. Justice Holder indicated he will order the defendant to prison for 23 years, to be followed by five years’ post release supervision.

According to the charges, on September 8, 2020, just before 2 p.m. in the afternoon, Smalls was on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Shore Front Parkway when he became embroiled in a verbal dispute with the victim, who was with two other people at the time. Without warning, the defendant pulled out a firearm and began firing at all three individuals.

DA Katz said, several bullets – at least six – struck Christopher Campbell throughout his body. Despite being rushed to a nearby hospital, the 20-year-old died as a result of the gunshot wounds. Two others were also hit by bullets but survived.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Tara DiGregorio, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau,  prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Peter McCormack III and John Kosinski, Senior Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and Karen Ross, Deputy Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of  Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.

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