So Sad: 18-Year-Old With Toy Gun Shot and Killed by Off-Duty Officer

A NYPD officer has been charged in the death of 18-year-old Raymond Chaluisant who was allegedly shot while playing with a water gun.

via Complex:

According to NBC New York, the deadly incident took place around 1:30 a.m. Thursday in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Responding officers say they found Chaluisant in a vehicle’s passenger seat with a gunshot wound to the face. Authorities say the man was immediately rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

Investigators have identified Chaluisant’s alleged shooter as Dion Middleton, a 45-year-old corrections officer who was off duty at the time of the incident. Middleton was reportedly arrested upon arriving to work several hours later.

“My office is committed to a thorough and transparent investigation of every case where an officer of the law may have caused a death,” NY Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release. “I offer my sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Chaluisant, and the people of New York have my pledge that we will work to see that justice is served.”

Police say they recovered an Orbeez water pellet gun at the shooting scene, though they have not presented evidence that Chaluisant aimed or fired the gel blaster at Middleton. The NYPD says bead blasters, like the Orbeez guns, remain illegal in the city. 

Joey Jackson, an attorney for the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, says Middleton fired at a vehicle after he felt a “stinging in his back.”

Chaluisant’s sister, Jiraida Esquilin, told the New York Daily News her little brother did not deserve to be shot, as he was simply participating in a water fight with friends.

“I can’t believe a corrections officer killed my brother,” Esquilin said. “Everything nowadays is a rage thing. They were just having fun. It’s a new nerf gun that shoots water. The whole neighborhood was having a water gun fight. It was 90 degrees.”

Police departments have raised concerns about the growing use of Orbeez guns, which are featured in a viral TikTok challenge.

Benny Boscio, president of the corrections officers’ union, said these types of devices are “an ongoing threat to public safety.”

“While this incident remains under investigation, we are aware that the media has reported a number of things which are not based in facts,” Boscio said in a statement. “Our officer fired a single shot in a situation where he felt his life was in immediate danger, particularly after feeling something hit his back.”

The officer should be fired and charged. Period.

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