NYPD detectives Monday were trying to identify the man who they believe was the intended target of 14-year-old Shaaliver Douse, the Bronx youth shot dead by police early Sunday.
Douse was shot once in the jaw and killed by a rookie police officer after the youth fired at a fleeing man near East 151st Street and Courtlandt Avenue in the Melrose section about 3 a.m., police said. Surveillance cameras captured Douse firing a 9-mm pistol while running after his intended target as bystanders scurried for cover.
Two officers on Operation Impact foot patrol duty in the area confronted Douse, who they said refused to drop his gun. He was then shot by one of the officers, police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday.
Kelly said it was unclear in the final moment of the confrontation whether Douse was still firing at the running man or at the officers.
Operation Impact officers are assigned to special zones within precincts that have particular problems with violent crimes. Concentrating on those impact zones is widely credited by police and criminologists with contributing to the decline of serious crimes in the city.
Police found the 9-mm pistol they said Douse fired four times.
The weapon was still being traced by federal officials Monday to determine its manufacturer and possible owners, police spokesman Paul Browne said.
Kelly said detectives were "actively investigating" the possibility that the shooting was gang related. Police had arrested Douse earlier this year in the May 16 shooting of what a law enforcement source said was a gang-related attack at a gas station in the Bronx. The victim was wounded but survived. The case against Douse was dropped after a crucial witness refused to testify, the source said.
The two officers, whose names have not been disclosed, who confronted Douse were recent graduates of the police academy. Both were treated at Jacobi Medical Center for trauma and tinnitus, and released, police said.
In line with standard police procedure, the officers were given administrative duties as the shooting is being investigated, Browne said.
The officers are able to keep their guns and badges as they do so, pending the outcome of the investigation, he said.