The killer of Anthony Gallivan, an Irishman whose death as an innocent bystander rattles the Queens Irish community in 1989, is seeking early release.
Alex Wong, a member of the once notorious Green Dragons gang, was only 16 years old when he shot and killed Tony Gallivan during an extortion attempt at a Taiwanese restaurant in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens. Wong also killed the restaurant’s manager, Mon Hsiung Ting, and left another bystander, Gregory Hyde, paralyzed for life.
Because of the especially cold-blooded nature of the crime and a plot by Wong following his arrest to kill one of the witnesses, then-Assistant US Attorney General Loretta Lynch secured approval to see him tried as an adult.
Wong was sentenced to life in prison, but following the 2012 decision by the Supreme Court that mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders violated the Eighth Amendment, he is now hoping to receive a shorter prison term in his resentencing.
Wong’s case was heard yesterday by Brooklyn federal judge Raymond Dearie.
As the NY Post reported, Wong, now 43 after 25 years in prison, vows that he has changed since the day he killed Gallivan and Mon Hsiung Ting.
“I remember the blood, the screams,” he wrote last month in his request for a reduced sentence. “I was an animal. The Green Dragons were animals.”
Prosecutor Douglas Pravda, however, maintains that “While Wong was 16 years old at the time of these shootings, his actions belied his youth. As Judge [Reena] Raggi stated at sentencing, the trial evidence showed that Wong’s behavior in the restaurant was ‘cool, calm, and very, very coldblooded.’ ”
In January 1990, the New York Times reported that 1989 had been a record year for bystander deaths, with over 30 lives across the city claimed by stray bullets that year. Of Gallivan, the paper wrote:
“Anthony Gallivan, born in Limerick, Ireland, had come to the United States hoping to earn enough money to open his own restaurant.
“He was killed on July 16 as he was having dinner with his wife in a Chinese restaurant near their home in Woodside, Queens, shot once in the chest.
“Police accounts said two Chinese gang members, in what appeared to be an extortion attempt, opened fire in the cramped restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights. The owner of the restaurant was killed, and two other customers were wounded.
'’'It was one of those things where there were three or four decisions made during the day that led them to being in the wrong place at the wrong time’’ said Dan Sweeney, an owner of the Mad Hatter, a Upper East Side pub where Mr. Gallivan worked as a bartender.
“Employees and patrons of the pub helped pay for transporting Mr. Gallivan's body to to Ireland for burial and for a plane ticket for his wife to attend the funeral.”