A 15-year-old boy is being charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Kyhara Tay, who died after being struck by a stray bullet in the Bronx on Monday.
The teen, whose name is being held by Gothamist, was arrested at a hotel on Pugsley Avenue in the Parkchester section of the borough around 2 on Friday, police said at a news conference.
He’s being charged as an adult with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Police said the 15-year-old was riding on the back of a scooter driven by a second suspect identified as 18-year-old Omar Bojang on Monday when he fired the shot, which was intended for a 13-year-old boy they were chasing. The bullet instead hit Tay, who was standing on the sidewalk nearby. She was taken to Lincoln Hospital, where she later died.
“He ended the life of a totally innocent, completely uninvolved 11-year-old girl,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said on Friday. “They have devastated a family while at the same time ending their own lives as they know them.”
The 15-year-old suspect has no prior arrests, police said. His previous contacts with police include an incident in October 2019, when he was assaulted at 12 years old. He was also a victim of a shooting himself earlier this year in the Bronx.
“It’s a brutal cycle of neglect, violence and victimhood, a revolving door that places our children in harm’s way,” said Mayor Eric Adams, who was at the news conference alongside Sewell on Friday.
Investigators are still looking for Bojang, who has prior arrests, including one gun arrest in June 2020, according to police. The motive for Monday’s shooting remains under investigation.
Adams said that while the NYPD will do its part in addressing gun violence on the front lines, other agencies must take preventative actions.
“They’re rolling out their summer plan, but every agency that’s involved with young people also must produce a plan to complement what the police department is doing,” Adams said.
“By the time someone carries a gun, discharges a gun, we already failed as a city.”
The mayor said he wants agencies including the city Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development–which oversees the Summer Youth Employment Program–to have plans in place to prevent gun violence. He’s also urging business communities and faith leaders to pitch in on the effort.
Shootings are slightly down across the city this year compared to the same time last year, though the Bronx has recently seen an uptick.
“It’s incomprehensible, but it’s no longer incredible for what’s happening to us in the Bronx,” Bronx DA Darcel Clark said on Friday.
This year in the Bronx 49 children aged 17 years or younger were arrested for gun possession, according to Clark. Sixteen children aged 16 years or younger have been shot in the Bronx so far this year, two of them fatally.
“We feel so much anguish over the death of little Kyhara Tay,” Clark said. “But also the tragedy here is that we’re talking about a gunman who is too young to be called the gunman because he’s 15 years old. A 15-year-old who possessed a gun, fired a gun on a busy street at five o’clock in the afternoon with no thought about his own human life or that of anybody else in the community.”
Clark urged Bojang to turn himself in, or for those around him to do so.
“Enough is enough,” she said.