The suspected shooter who fired the bullet believed to have killed an 11-year-old girl as she walked with family members on a Bronx street earlier this week is in custody, police said Friday.
The suspect, 15 years old, is one of two young people police were looking for in the Monday evening shooting that killed Kyhara Tay. He is facing charges that include murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.
“The tragedy here is that we're talking about a gunman who is too young to be called a gunman because he’s 15 years old,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. "A 15-year-old who possessed a gun, fired a gun on a busy street at 5 o 'clock in the afternoon with no thought about his own human life or that of anybody else in the community.”
James Essig, the Police Department's chief of detectives, said the 15-year-old was being charged as an adult. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney who could comment.
Authorities have said Tay was hit in the stomach when a duo on a moped opened fire at a group of men in Longwood, at a Westchester Avenue street corner.
"I won't say she was in the wrong place, because why shouldn't an 11-year-old child be able to stand outside in broad daylight," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a Friday news conference.
The 11-year-old, who had been walking with family members at the time, was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later. Sources said the teenage suspect's alleged target was a 13-year-old, but he missed, striking Kyhara instead.
Police said they're still looking for the moped driver. Mayor Eric Adams pleaded for the driver, identified by police as 18-year-old Omar Bojang and has a history with the NYPD, to turn himself in.
“Our children are having their entire childhoods taken from them,” said Adams, who joined law enforcers in announcing the arrest. “Can’t go to the park. Can’t go to the store. Can’t attend events. You have to sit home because they don’t feel safe enough to go out. We’re betraying these youths. We're failing them.”
The death of the sixth-grader has rocked her Bronx community. Family members gathered Tuesday night at a vigil for Kyhara, Kyky for short. Her parents were inconsolable as they visited the memorial that has taken over the street where she was shot. At a vigil, balloons soared through the air as loved ones said goodbye.
"I'm sad and I miss her a lot and I can't believe she's dead. It hurts," said friend Kaylany Alvarez, who said she knew Kyhara since pre-school. "She would come over sometimes and we would be together and I woke up today and I found out that she got shot. I really miss her and I hope she's doing OK in heaven."
The next day, a crowd gathered for a rally in the girl's memory and to support her family, saying they are tired of living in fear of the violence in the streets, and angry those responsible are still being sought.
"These kids are doing wild, wild west out here," Longview resident Luis Torres said, adding "this is the worst tragedy I have seen in my whole entire life."
No one else was wounded in the shooting.