Fatal Shooting: Queen's DJ Killed at Fourth of July Party

A devastating tragedy struck early Thursday morning in Queens, New York, as 37-year-old DJ Travanti Rankine was fatally shot during a Fourth of July party. The incident occurred around 5 a.m. at a house located on Montauk Street near 119th Road in St. Albans, leaving Rankine’s family and friends in shock and mourning.

Rankine, who worked as an electrician at Carle Place High School in Long Island, was widely known for his musical talents and passion for performing as a DJ. He often entertained at local events, showcasing his skills as a “Sing J,” a term used in Jamaican music culture for a performer who sings and raps over reggae tracks. His performances were a staple at stage shows, parties, backyard barbecues, and other gatherings, where he shared messages about loyalty, family, and respect.

The night of the party, Rankine had made arrangements for his two sons, ages 11 and 2, to stay with his mother. He visited her home around midnight, expressing his excitement about the “big night” ahead. Unfortunately, this night of celebration turned into a nightmare when a dispute between two guests escalated into violence. As the argument intensified, one of the guests pulled out a gun and fired, striking Rankine in the chest.

The NYPD responded swiftly to the scene, where they found Rankine critically injured. Medics rushed him to Jamaica Hospital, where his wife, Sasha-Marie, had just finished a late-night shift as a telemetry technician. Despite the medical team’s efforts, Rankine was unresponsive upon arrival, and he was pronounced dead shortly after that.

Sasha-Marie recounted the heartbreaking moment she received the call about her husband being shot. A friend who was present at the party informed her of the incident, although the friend did not witness the shooting firsthand. Sasha-Marie hurried to the hospital, only to find that her husband had already succumbed to his injuries.

“I feel weak. I can’t believe it,” Sasha-Marie told the Daily News. “I’m devastated.” She struggled to comprehend the senseless act of violence that took her husband’s life, expressing that he “should still be here” and emphasizing that there was “no reason for him to die.”

Rankine’s mother, Cassandra, also shared her grief and disbelief. She remembered her son’s enthusiasm and passion for music, which had evolved from a hobby into a significant part of his life. Reflecting on their last conversation, Cassandra recalled telling her son, “Not tonight, not tonight,” without knowing why she felt uneasy about his plans.

 Fatal Shooting: Queen's DJ Killed at Fourth of July Party

The NYPD has yet to determine whether Rankine was directly involved in the fight or if he was an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. Detectives are actively searching for surveillance footage and any other evidence that might help identify the shooter, who fled the scene immediately after the incident.

The aftermath of the shooting left the Montauk Street area cordoned off as police conducted their investigation. The scene was littered with red Solo cups and evidence markers, a stark reminder of the celebration that had turned deadly.

Sasha-Marie spent the morning breaking the tragic news to their children. The older boy, grappling with the reality of his father’s death, is in a state of shock, while the younger child, due to his age, is unable to understand the situation fully.

In her grief, Sasha-Marie voiced her thoughts about the perpetrator, stating, “They don’t deserve to see the light of day. They don’t deserve to live.” Her tears and anguish were palpable as she reflected on the profound loss her family had endured. “He really ripped my family apart. Me and [Rankine], that’s all my kids had. That’s all we had. What am I going to do?”

As the community mourns the loss of a beloved DJ, father, and husband, the search for justice continues. The NYPD urges anyone with information about the shooting to come forward, hoping to bring closure to Rankine’s grieving family and hold the perpetrator accountable for this senseless act of violence.

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