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Arrest finally made for 1997 shooting death of 16-year-old
Michael Keating, now 43, was arrested for the shooting and killing John Sebastian, 16, outside the teen’s Brownville home in 1997.


John Sebastian, 16, was murdered at this spot on Linden St. near Bushwick Ave., Brooklyn, on Sept. 6, 1997. This past Thursday, police apprehended his killer, Michael Keating, in Jamaica.

She wondered for nearly 16 years what her son’s killer looked like.

On Friday, Mona Sebastian told the Daily News, she finally got her answer. But it only led to more despair for the Brooklyn woman whose 16-year-old son, John Sebastian, was shot dead on a Bushwick street in 1997.

“I saw his face for the first time,” the 54-year-old Sebastian said. The wound has reopened.”

Sebastian says the Sept. 6, 1997, killing was as cold-blooded as it was senseless: Neighborhood residents were taunting Michael Keating on Linden St., calling the weapon he brandished a “toy gun.”

Keating shot the teen, Sebastian said, to show the hecklers the very realness of his gun.

And then he simply vanished, leaving justice empty-handed and a mother broken-hearted. But neither ever forgot, and cops ended their manhunt for the alleged murderer, now 43, on Thursday, nabbing him in balmy Jamaica and hauling him into court on a second-degree murder charge a day later by way of LaGuardia Airport.

Sebastian told The News that Keating was a Bushwick drug dealer who was aiming at a rival peddler on Linden St., near Bushwick Ave., when he hit John in the leg.

“He was standing at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said of her son.

And that’s when the ugly turned ungodly.

“Neighbors were egging him on,” Sebastian said. “They said, ‘That’s a toy gun!’ He said ‘toy gun?’ then finished (John) off.

“My son was 16 years old, and he never had a chance,” she said. “We never got to see the kind of man he would become.”

Police sources could not verify Sebastian’s account of the jeering by-standers, but they said Keating did indeed fire several rounds into the wounded teen’s torso.

Keating also fired at a relative of the teen’s as the man ran over to render aid, cop sources said. But only the air was filled with clicks, they said, because Keating had emptied his gun into the dying teen.

The alleged killer then pistol-whipped the man, Sebastian mom said.

“My cousin tried to help my son, and (Keating) cracked open his head,” she said.

John Sebastian’s desperado killer had fled the city by the time detectives identified him, cop sources said., as a suspect in Sebastian’s murder.

But after a decade and a half of searching, cops tracked Keating to Jamaica. He was brought back to the U.S. after he waived an extradition hearing last month.

“He got comfortable, and police caught up with him,” Sebastian said. “It’s been a long time, but the police did their job and they did a good job.

“I’m just glad they got him after all this time.”
With Thomas Tracy

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