Shemel Mercurius, a 16-year-old teenager from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, was shot dead by an unknown assailant on Tuesday, Brooklyn News 12 reports. Shemel was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin when the man entered the sixth-floor apartment located on Brooklyn Avenue and shot her in the chest.
The incident reportedly happened around 6 p.m. local time. Police and emergency responders arrived on the scene after nearby residents heard the sound of gunshots being fired. Shemel was rushed to the Kings County Hospital for emergency treatment. However, they were not able to save her life.
— GT Magazine (@gtmagazine) June 1, 2016
Moments before Shemel slipped into unconsciousness and later died, she revealed the name of the person who had shot her to the police officials near her. According to officials, Shemel’s boyfriend is a prime suspect in the case. However, they have not confirmed whether the man identified by Shemel as the shooter was her boyfriend.
According to a report by the New York Daily News, eyewitnesses saw a man armed with an assault rifle fleeing the apartment after the shooting took place. The man was also accompanied by an unidentified female. Initial reports also say that the man had forced entry into the apartment and that Mercurius was attempting to keep him from getting inside. However, the man was able to overpower her. A neighbor who was near the scene also confirmed that he was able to hear the gunman flee seconds after the sound of gunshots were heard.
“It was like crashes, but muffled. After the loud bangs he was jetting down the steps, and my dog ran to the door,” the man told reporters.
Shemel is a native of Guyana and had arrived in New York just four years ago. She wanted to go to college in the U.S. and was studying at the Edward R. Murrow High School at the time of her death. Her mother still lives in Guyana and was not initially told about her death. In the U.S., Shemel was living with her grandfather and grandmother.
“We brought her here for a better life. We hoped she could go to college.” her grandmother said.
One day after the incident, a vigil was observed in her memory, where her grandfather was seen breaking into tears. The vigil was also attended by several lawmakers who talked about the increase in gun violence in the country. Incidentally, the incident that led to Shemel’s death was the third such incident in the last 24 hours around Brooklyn.
— Andy Mai (@MaiAndy) June 2, 2016
They even made an appeal to the gunman to turn himself in. City Councilman Jumaane Williams attended the vigil and stressed that a lot needs to be done to prevent future incidents.
“God willing, at some point, we can stop all this. It should be viewed as obscene each and every time that it happens.”
Meanwhile, Shemel’s family members are now worried if her mother, who still lives in Guyana, would be able to make it to the U.S. to see her daughter one last time. The are concerned about the prospect of Visa restrictions coming in the way of her visit.
Police are still investigating the circumstances that led to the shooting and killing of Shemel Mercurius. Her grandmother told investigators that Shemel was going through a traumatic relationship and that her grandfather had taken away her mobile phone from her a few days ago because of “some boy.” The investigating officers are looking into this angle as well.
Ironically, this shooting incident happened on the first day of June, which happens to be Gun Violence Awareness Month.
[Image via Pixabay]