In a tragic shooting in Brooklyn, 16-year-old Shemel Mercerius was gunned down by who police believe was Taariq Stephens, a man with a long rap sheet. There was a video of Stephens running from the scene after Mercerius was shot in the chest and arm.
The teen was murdered while watching over her 3-year-old cousin who witnessed the entire attack, the New York Daily News noted. EMT workers stated that the teen was semi-conscious and rushed her to Kings County Hospital, but she couldn’t be saved. However, her dying last words were used to tell authorities who allegedly tried to kill her.
While it was initially reported that Mercerius and the 24-year-old Stephens were romantically linked, police now stress that they don’t believe that was the case.
“From what we can read of the texts, it is not a romantic relationship,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. “There’s a lot more to go in this case . . . to figure out.”
They are still at a loss as to why Stephens would want the teenager dead, but thankfully, Stephens turned himself into the police on Thursday after the police issued a warrant for his arrest.
Mercerius moved to New York from Guyana to stay with her aunt and other extended family members. Her grandmother Joan Mercurius told the newspaper they wanted the teen to move to US for a “better life.”
“We hoped she could go to college…She was so cute, and she grew up so fast. This is so terrible,” she said.
The teen’s mother still lives in Guyana and is “scrambling” to make it New York to attend her daughter’s funeral.
“She is my first baby,” Lovern Williams-Oliver told the Daily News over the phone. “I don’t know how something like this can happen to my baby. She was peaceful, loving and inspirational.”
We send our deepest condolences to the Mercerius family.