The man suspected in the shooting death of a teen baby sitter surrendered to cops at a police station in New York City’s Brooklyn borough Thursday with the help of his lawyer, the New York Daily News reports.
Taariq Stephens, 24, is accused of using a .40-caliber submachine gun to shoot 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius while her 3-year-old nephew watched.
Stephens, who has six prior arrests, was charged with murder and weapon possession Thursday. The dying Shemel reportedly gave police her alleged killer's first name Tuesday night after the shooting, sources note.
The motive behind the killing is still unclear, but Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that reports that the alleged killer was Shemel's boyfriend were inaccurate.
“From what we can read of the texts, it is not a romantic relationship,” Boyce said, according to the Daily News. “There’s a lot more to go in this case … to figure out.”
Stephens allegedly forced his way into Shemel's apartment with a Kel-Tec submachine gun just before 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“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 went through Shemel's arm and into her chest, killing her. Her nephew was not injured, although the child's mother said that he was terrified by what he had to witness.
Shemel's mother, Lovern Williams-Oliver, who lives in their native homeland of Guyana, was reportedly desperately trying to get a vistor visa so that she can attend her daughter's funeral.
“She is my first baby,” Williams-Oliver told the Daily News. “I don’t know how something like this can happen to my baby. She was peaceful, loving and inspirational.”
Read more at the New York Daily News.