A rookie police officer on foot patrol fatally shot a 14-year-old boy in the Bronx early Sunday after the teen opened fire on another male outside a deli and did not respond when officers ordered him to drop his weapon, police officials said.
Shaaliver Douse, of the Bronx, was chasing another male while firing at him with a 9-mm handgun near East 151st Street and Courtlandt Avenue in the Melrose neighborhood around 3 a.m. when two officers, who took cover between parked cars, ordered him to "drop the gun," police and a witness said. Both officers were rookies, who graduated from the police academy and joined the force in January.
Douse fired again -- it's unclear whether he was shooting at the male he was chasing or the police. The officers, who were about 40 feet away, ordered him to drop the weapon a second time. When he didn't, police said, at least one of the officers fired, striking him in his lower left jaw. Douse was pronounced dead at the scene.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly called the shooting tragic. "Regardless of the circumstances, this is a crushing blow to any parent," Kelly said, referring to Shanise Farrar, Douse's mother.
Douse fired four shots in all, police said, and ballistics investigators recovered three shells outside the deli and one near Douse's body. All four shells matched. The male that Douse was pursuing ran from the scene and had not been found Sunday, police said.
The commissioner said police are "actively investigating" the possibility that the initial shooting was gang related.
"We have someone armed with a gun aiming at someone else," Kelly said. "A shot is fired in that street. I think they did what any officer would do."
Both officers were put on the street patrol a month ago as part of Operation Impact, Kelly said.
Danilo Batista, 56, who lives across the street from the shooting scene, said he saw the officers ducking between two parked cars and yelling at Douse to drop the gun.
"I heard the police ask him to disarm himself," Batista said. "He was chasing another kid."
Police had arrested Douse in a May 16 shooting of what a source described as a rival gang member at a gas station in the Bronx. Police had charged Douse as an adult in the May shooting that occurred near Boston Road and Jefferson Place.
But witnesses did not want to cooperate, so the Bronx district attorney didn't bring charges.
"There was not enough evidence to proceed with the case," said Steven Reed, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
"The witness could not identify the assailant," he said.
The case from May is still under investigation, Reed said.
Police identified neither officer but said they were men and their ages were 26 and 27. Kelly said the 26-year-old officer's bullet struck Douse. The officers were taken to Jacobi Medical Center to be treated for ringing in the ears and trauma.
Family and friends gathered at Douse's Washington Avenue building early Sunday afternoon, declining to talk with reporters. A single white candle was lit in the building entryway.
Detectives combed through the scene much of Sunday, once breaking up a group of teens gathering at the site.
Batista said the police foot patrols were good for the neighborhood and aimed toward "getting the delinquents off the street."
With Maria Alvarez,
Anthony M. DeStefano,
Sheila Feeney and Nicole Fuller