A teen who was shot in the head on Friday afternoon in East Harlem and placed in critical condition has passed away, officials say.
The teenager was identified as 16-year-old Juwan Tavarez, or "Chico," PIX11 News reported. The shooting occurred in East Harlem at the Jefferson Houses off of 3rd Ave. around 4:48 p.m.
Tavarez was immediately sent to Harlem hospital, but after two days and a brain surgery, he has died from his wounds.A resident told PIX11 News that the majority of criminal activity at the Jefferson Houses "occurs underneath a scaffolding that's blocked by surveillance cameras."
"'Police can't even see anything because the scaffolding is covering the cameras, and this why it's continuous,' one neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said. 'There's nothing else I can say at this point because it's just becoming disgusting.'"
DNA Info reported that many residents have been appalled and disappointed by the digression and decay that the neighborhood has been experiencing due to criminal activity. Some residents have always felt like the area is unsafe, but not as much in the winter and spring as in the summer.
"Olga Gines, 69, said she often walks around the area at night and does not generally feel unsafe. 'In the summer there's a lot of shooting, but not now,' said Gines, a social worker. 'Same thing that happens here happens in Brooklyn, in Queens.' But Gines added that she was held up in one of the Jefferson Houses buildings about 10 years ago. 'You have to be careful, very careful walking into the building.'"
One resident heard the shots from her home and was shocked by the incident.
"It's crazy! People shooting today on God's day. I heard it from my window, four shots."
A teenage girl was in her apartment when the shots went off but ran out only in time to see the culprits leave.
"I just heard about five, six shots, and they went back to back, and then I looked over and it was just a couple of boys running."Local activist Clark Pena was terribly saddened by this terrible deed and said that he just doesn't know how to fix the crime problems in East Harlem.
"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. We come together, we go to meetings, we protest, we have candlelight vigils and nothing really seems to get resolved."
Chico's sister-in-law has been both shocked and confused by this incident, saying that Chico in no way deserved such harm.
"I got a phone call and I just ran down the block and they just told me that Chico was shot in the head."
She insisted that Juwan is "outgoing and fun-loving." As she puts it, Chico is just "one of those jokesters -- [he] likes to dance, likes to sing."
"He's a good kid. He went to school. He's not an A student, but he went to school, you know, he had dreams of leaving the projects."
Tavarez was immediately taken to Harlem hospital, where he remained in critical condition until Sunday. Juwan's sister-in-law told them that he underwent brain surgery Friday evening, but few updates were released to the public until yesterday. He was pronounced dead on Sunday afternoon.
The Inquisitr has reported on other cases of violence in East Harlem, particularly regarding the cop who was shot in the area last October.
Currently, no suspects have been identified or taken into custody, but police continue to investigate the situation.
[Image by Shutterstock.com]