Police are searching for the gunman who shot a teen girl in front of the 3-year-old she was baby-sitting, then left her for dead in her Brooklyn apartment.
Shemel Mercurius, 16, was baby-sitting her young cousin in her sixth-floor apartment in East Flatbush on Tuesday when she was shot multiple times, police said.
Officers were called to the Brooklyn Avenue apartment building just before 6 p.m. following reports of gunfire.
They found Mercurius semi-conscious in her apartment with multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said. Mercurius was taken to Kings County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Mercurius' aunt told NBC 4 New York her 3-year-old son witnessed the shooting.
"My son was in the apartment screaming, and the neighbors heard him crying and started banging the door, but Shemel wasn't able to get up or move or do anything," said Latoya Price.
She also said Mercurius was able to describe the gunman to police before she died. Price's 3-year-old son was unharmed.
"They have to pay for it. Why would you want to take someone's life?" Price said in tears. "She's only 16. You took her whole life away from her. For what reason?"
A law enforcement source tells NBC 4 New York police are searching for the teen's ex-boyfriend, calling him a person of interest they want to question. They're also reviewing surveillance video that appears to have captured a suspect in the elevator before the shooting.
No one is in custody at the moment.
At a vigil for the girl Wednesday night, her anguished father became overwhelmed and had to leave in tears.
Family and friends say Mercurius left her native Guyana to come to America in hopes of a better life. Her 13-year-old friend Anastassia said she wishes they could have had more time together.
"I saw her the other day. I should have said hi because you don't know when you'll be gone," she said.
The vigil took place on the first day of gun violence awareness month. Community leaders asked for the public's help to identify Shemel's killer.
"There's no honor in protecting individuals who wreaking havoc and terrorizing this community and putting fear into the hearts of our loved ones," said councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.