NYC Teen Used Dying Breath to Identify the Man Who Shot Her After She Rejected His Advances, Officers Testify

CBS New York screenshot
CBS New York screenshot

As she was dying from gunshot wounds, a Brooklyn, N.Y., teen used her last breaths to identify the man who shot her because she refused to date him, police testified Monday.


According to the New York Daily News, 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius struggled through a painful 20-minute wait for an ambulance, but in that time, she told authorities about a 25-year-old man who wanted to date her and would not take no for an answer, the police said.

Taariq Stephens is the 25-year-old facing charges that he murdered Shemel, a junior at Edward R. Murrow High School. Shemel was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin in May 2016 when authorities say Stephens forced his way into the apartment in the New York City borough and shot her three times with a submachine gun.

During Stephens’ trial Monday inside the state Supreme Court in Brooklyn, responding officers detailed the scene to which they arrived on May 31, 2016.

“There was a 3-year-old male child ... covered in blood crying next to the victim,” Police Sgt. Ryan Habermehl testified, adding that he immediately called EMS. “It took about 20 minutes for EMS to arrive.”

Police Officer Kyle Thomas Daly was the one who found Shemel bleeding, seated on a toy car and slumped against the wall.

“I put on gloves, took her off the car and laid her down and began rendering aid ... she regained consciousness, gave me her name and date of birth,” Daly, who has since left the New York City Police Department to join the Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Department, told the courtroom.


He also confirmed that it took about 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Shemel went in and out of consciousness, but in that time, she was able to tell another detective that Stephens wanted them to be a couple but she wasn’t interested, Daly testified.


Shemel and Stephens had met at a day care center about a week before the slaying and exchanged numbers, according to authorities.

Shortly before she was shot, Shemel had buzzed a friend, Lona Junien, into the building where she was babysitting. Junien, 18, also testified what she saw when she approached the apartment.


“The person pushed her. The person said, ‘Don’t ever lie to me.’ She was screaming; he took out the gun and shot her,” Junien said.

However, when she was being questioned by Stephens’ lawyer, Junien did acknowledge that a detective had identified Stephens as the shooter before she had a chance to identify him for herself.


Stephens is facing charges of second-degree murder and a weapons charges and, if convicted, could serve 25 years to life in prison.

Read more at the New York Daily News.

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It’s stories like these that have made me afraid...just for a guy to like me. You just don’t know how these guys will react. Sometimes just being polite will put you in harms way. I told an 60+year old man good morning passing him in the store & held the door open for him. He said thank you & 15sec later asked me for a date. I politely said no thank you...he got mad & started calling me names under his breath. He even had the nerve to later follow me around the store. So I pretended to check out, left my stuff up front & headed for the door. Turned around he left his cart trying to get outside too, but luckily there were alot people coming in blocking his way.

I told a male cousin what happened & he said well you must have flirted with him or something. I said come here & walk thru this door while I hold it open for you, then I said good morning. Then I asked my cousin, did that turn you on? He just said...oh. So that got me to wondering how he acts towards women telling him good morning now...smh

You can’t see everybody’s intentions upon first meeting/seeing them. These guys are ready to attack within 10sec of just seeing you. It can get ugly fast before you’ve even sensed danger. I feel sorry for the teen girls coming up now because these young guys self-entitlement has made them super aggressive. Never seen so many who could turn violent so fast.

I hear people (mostly guys) say “well it’s just an isolated incident so it probably wouldn’t happen to you.” My fear is valid. The level of crazy has been risen. I’ve witnessed the Jekyll & Hyde. Betting on “probably” isn’t a good a enough chance for me to get comfortable and lower my guard.