US District Court Central Islip
US District Court in Central Islip.

A reputed member of the Bloods street gang was indicted for allegedly killing a man outside of a Deer Park strip club last year following a dispute over a photo, federal authorities said.

Lawrence “L Boogs” Lewis was charged Tuesday at Central Islip federal court with the July 29 murder of John Birt, firearms offenses, and narcotics possession and distribution.

“The simple act of taking a photo ended in a man losing his life, all because a gang member was allegedly offended and decided to retaliate,” said William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York office. “It’s hard to fathom how the suspect in this case weighed exposing his illegal drug trade, and his illegal weapons because he wanted to prove how tough he is to his rivals.”

Authorities alleged that the 36-year-old Calverton man shot the victim while Birt and several friends were posing for a photo at the Illusions Gentlemen’s Club in Deer Park when they were approached by an associate of Lewis, who was also a member of the Bloods. The associate attempted to display a Bloods gang hand signal in the photo, a dispute ensued and Lewis pulled out a handgun and fatally shot Birt, according to investigators.

The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force arrested Lewis Monday. The probe of the murder found that the suspect allegedly distributed large quantities of cocaine base and heroin in Suffolk County between January 2016 and March 2018, prosecutors said.

His arrest came on the same day that federal authorities announced the roundup of a dozen members of the Hempstead-based Mac Baller Brims set of the Bloods on charged of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and heroin.

Lewis faces up to life in prison, if convicted before Judge Joanna Seybert.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.