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Posted on: August 29, 2023

Alleged Gang Members Indicted for 2019 Hempstead Drive-By Murder

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Taiquan Cullum and Deion Barros allegedly shot and killed 36-year-old Paul LaRue after an earlier attempt on Cullum’s life

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that two alleged gang members were indicted on murder and weapons charges for the drive-by shooting of a 36-year-old man in Hempstead in 2019.

Taiquan Cullum a/k/a “Tay Tay,” 33, of Hempstead, was arraigned before Judge Helene Gugerty on August 22, 2023, on charges of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony); and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C violent felony). Cullum pleaded not guilty and was remanded.

Deion Barros a/k/a “D” and “Little D”, 27, of Hempstead, was arraigned today before Judge Gugerty on charges of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony); and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C violent felony). Barros pleaded not guilty and was remanded. 

Cullum is due back in court on September 27, 2023, Barros is due back in court on September 26, 2023. If convicted, the defendants face up to 40 years to life in prison.

“After surviving an attempt on his life at a bar in Baldwin, Taiquan Cullum allegedly decided to take matters into his own hands and enlisted the help of co-defendant Deion Barros to hunt down the individual who shot at him and retaliate,” said DA Donnelly. “The pair came across Paul LaRue, who had been with Cullum’s shooter, but not involved in the earlier incident. The defendants recognized him from the bar and allegedly shot him to death. This indictment is the result of an extensive investigation by my prosecutors and the police department. I thank them for their extraordinary work putting together the pieces of this four-year-old crime to be able to bring these charges.”

DA Donnelly said that, according to the charges, on July 28, 2019, at approximately 1:57 a.m., Cullum was at a bar in Baldwin and was shot at seven times by Jermaine Grant because of a perceived dispute between Cullum and acquaintances of Grant.

After the attempt on his life, Cullum allegedly went to Hempstead to retrieve a gun and picked up co-defendant Deion Barros to assist him in finding the individual who shot at him. 

Cullum and Barros allegedly drove around Hempstead and came across Paul LaRue, a friend of Grant who was also at the bar during the attempted murder but not involved in the shooting. LaRue was sitting in his vehicle stopped at a red light at the intersection of Clinton and Fulton Streets.

The defendants allegedly pulled alongside LaRue’s Mercedes Benz and Barros opened fired approximately three times, killing LaRue. Cullum and Barros then drove off. 

Jermaine Grant was subsequently arrested for the attempted murder of Cullum later that morning. 

Grant was found guilty after a trial before Judge Helene Gugerty on October 27, 2022, of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree (a B violent felony) and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C violent felony). Grant was sentenced on December 2, 2022, to 20 years in prison. 

Cullum and Barros’ cases are being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Stefanie Palma of the Homicide Bureau. Cullum is represented by Greg Madey, Esq. Barros is represented by Jeff Groder, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty. 

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