The vigil for a teen killed by police turned when he allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband turned into a riot in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush on Monday night.
The candlelight vigil for the 16-year-old boy, Kimani Gray, became violent as frustrated mourners threw bottles and police and broke shop windows. The rioters also looted a Rite Aid store, police said.
The teen gunman was killed by police on Saturday night in East Flatbush in Brooklyn. Police in an unmarked car stopped a group of teens, and Gray allegedly ran from them and then fumbled in his waistband for a .38-caliber pistol.
Residents of East Flatbush contested the account of the shooting that police gave.
“He was running for his life, telling the cops stop,” witness Camile Johnson told PIX11. “These cops is ridiculous. They really are, seriously, walking around, shooting little kids. They was just beating up somebody on 51st, now they came down here and shot somebody’s child.”
“I heard a lot of shots, rapid fire, about eight shots,” another resident told the New York Post. “I heard the gun shots from my living room.”
At the vigil for Gray, some teens began throwing trash cans, and by 8:30 “a large, disorderly group [began] throwing bottles at police” a few blocks from the vigil, an NYPD source said.
Sandra Mitchelin, 42, a community member who helped organize the vigil, said the teens grew angry that no elected officials showed up to speak out against the teen killed by cops.
“The kids, they retaliate because they want their voice to be heard,” Mitchelin said. “They’re frustrated. Not even the police commissioner or the mayor. Nobody came out… And he was a baby!”
But a politician did show up to help quell the Flatbush riot. Brooklyn councilman Jumaane Williams raced to the scene, tweeting about the tense scene and reportedly trying to ease tensions.