A Staten Island man was arraigned Sunday in connection with a hit-and-run accident that killed a 5-year-old boy in Dongan Hills Friday night. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
Two days after 5-year-old Kyrillos Gendy was struck and killed by a car, supporters of the man charged, 33-year-old John Sanjurjo, slowly and quietly filed out of Staten Island Criminal Court Sunday.
Authorities allege that Sanjurjo was driving a Mercedes-Benz Friday night when he plowed into a family of three, and then fled the scene as 5-year-old Kyrillos lay bleeding.
Kyrillos died. His 7-year-old sister suffered a broken leg.
At his arraignment, Sanjurjo's defense attorney painted a different picture, saying Sanjurjo previously served in the Air Force, had a clean criminal record and once even saved a group of disabled children from a burning bus. The attorney also said there's no proof that Sanjurjo was the one behind the wheel.
His supporters weren't the only ones who showed up Sunday, however.
Dongan Hills resident Christopher Janusis alleges Sanjurjo was involved in a separate reckless driving incident last month.
No charges were ever filed, but Janusis showed NY1 a police report with Sanjurjo's name on it and a photo of what he alleges is Sanjurjo's car flipped over in front of his home.
"His explanation is that he swerved from a cat, that he was doing 30 miles an hour, which is impossible," Janusis said. When asked if he believed that, Janusis said, "Nobody did, not even the cops."
Despite the fact that Sanjurjo has been charged with three felonies, Janusis fears soon he'll be back behind the wheel.
"Unfortunately, the way the system works, he might pay his bail today and go home," Janusis said. "What's going to stop him from getting in a car, and starting it and driving?"
"I really don't have many words for somebody who's as disgusting as him," he added. "But like I said, just be a man. How could you drive away from something like that? You killed a kid."
The judge set bond for $50,000. Grand jury action will be taken on Sanjurjo's case on August 16.