Shakzod Bobokalonov frantically tried to protect his younger brother from the smoke spilling into their Brooklyn apartment.
Bobokalonov, 19 at time, put his body over his 11-year-old brother, and gave him his shirt for protection as the flames closed in on their Sheepshead Bay apartment on May 2, 2016 at around 1 a.m. “(The smoke) kept coming out of nowhere,” he testified in Brooklyn federal court Thursday.
Prosecutors say Leonid (Lenny) Gershman and Aleksey Tsvetkov convened a meeting in which the arson was planned. The men have ties to an organized crime syndicate known as “Thieves in Law,” according to authorities.
The fire to the 2220 Voorhies Ave. building was set because it housed a rival poker game on the ground floor, prosecutors said.
Bobokalonov and his brother were rescued with the help of firefighter Gabriel Buonincontri who broke a window and took them down by ladder.