Syracuse gang leader sentenced for fatal shooting of high school basketball star

Kihary Blue

A leader of a Syracuse street gang has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for fatally shooting a 19-year-old man who was home from college.

28-year-old Kahari Smith was sentenced Tuesday in federal court for killing Kihary Blue in November 2010.

Blue, a former Henninger High School star athlete, was killed when Smith opened fire on a vehicle traveling on Interstate 81. Authorities say the vehicle was known to be used by a rival gang, but Blue wasn't a member of any street gang.

Smith pleaded guilty in September to federal racketeering charges in connection with the slaying, which set off a string of retaliatory violence that ended in the fatal shooting of a 20-month-old Syracuse boy. Family and friends recently held a vigil for Rashaad Walker Jr., who would have turned five-years-old on Monday.