One of three men shot by a gunman outside a Queens catering hall has been arrested for opening fire first, sparking the shootout that left one victim dead, police said Monday.
Dwayne Whyte, 28, is charged with attempted murder, attempted assault and gun possession for allegedly firing a gun during the clash in a parking lot outside a banquet hall in Ozone Park about 5 a.m. Sunday.
Whyte missed his target but that man returned fire, striking Whyte four times in the leg on Cross Bay Blvd. near Desarc Road, police said.
Whyte’s intended target also struck a 32-year-old man in the face and a 38-year man in the upper body.
The older victim, Raymond Francis, was rushed by medics to Jamaica Hospital but could not be saved.
The younger victim left the scene before medics arrived and went to King County Hospital, where he is in stable condition.
Whyte, who is from Bridgeport, Conn., took himself to Jamaica Hospital before first responders arrived but cops tracked him down and linked him to the shooting, police said.
Surveillance video shows the killer firing rapidly with what appears to be an assault rifle, though police have described it as a rifle. Another weapon, a handgun, was recovered at the scene.
“I heard at least 20 shots,” said neighbor Kaled Alamarie, 51, whose bedroom window faces the shooting scene.
“I saw the guy running this way with the rifle. . . . He was running wild. I was hoping that he wasn’t gonna catch me watching him through the window. You know I was worried he might retaliate.”
Alamarie said the catering hall often operates as a nightclub and is a magnet for trouble and violence. He and other neighbors regularly complain to NYPD officials, he said.
“Sooner or later, really something needs to happen,” he said. “I’m hoping this is an inflection point, that they will shut this place down.”