Man charged with murder in shooting of 16-year-old Brooklyn baby-sitter
Taariq Stephens, a 24-year-old man wanted for using a .40-caliber submachine gun to kill a teenage baby-sitter — as her terrified 3-year-old nephew looked on —as charged with murder and weapon possession late Thursday at the 67th Precinct stationhouse in East Flatbush.
The man with a half-dozen prior arrests, turned himself in, at a Brooklyn police station on Thursday, after his lawyer arranged the surrender with police.
With her dying breath, Shemel Mercurius, 16, gave police her alleged killer’s first name after the Tuesday night shooting, sources said.
A video camera caught the gunman forcing his way inside the home after the teen initially rebuffed his efforts, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
The motive in the killing remained unclear, and Boyce said initial reports that the killer was Shemel’s boyfriend proved inaccurate.
“From what we can read of the texts, it is not a romantic relationship,” Boyce said. “There’s a lot more to go in this case . . . to figure out.”
Stephens was carrying a powerful Kel-Tec submachine gun when he forced his way into Shemel’s Brooklyn Ave. apartment just before 6 p.m. Thursday.
“He pulls out the stock of the gun before he shoots this young lady,” Boyce said. “He racks three times, leaving three full rounds outside on the hallway.”
One of the bullets tore through the girl’s arm and into her chest, killing her. The tot was not injured, although his mother said the child was terrified by what he saw.
Stephens’ lawyer contacted cops Thursday after the suspect’s name was released and said the ex-con was ready to turn himself in, sources said.
The slain girl’s weepy mother, Lovern Williams-Oliver, was scrambling in their native Guyana for a visitor’s visa to attend her daughter’s funeral.
The two last spoke only two days before the Tuesday night killing.
“She is my first baby,” said the mom as she fought back tears. “I don’t know how something like this can happen to my baby. She was peaceful, loving and inspirational.”
Four of her Edward R. Murrow High School classmates collected $137 toward paying for Shemel’s funeral.
“It just touched our hearts that her life ended so abruptly,” said Ebony Campbell, 15. “We felt like we had to do something.”
The family was still in the process of finalizing funeral plans for the girl.
(Modified from New York Daily News)