Hours after the man accused of fatally shooting 16-year-old Shemel Mecurius in a Brooklyn apartment turned himself into law enforcement, he was arraigned for her murder. Taariq Stephens, 24, appeared at the 67th
Precinct stationhouse in Brooklyn on Friday morning.
The murder suspect surrendered moments after his photograph and surveillance video were released by authorities in the US.
The now dead teen was babysitting her cousin when she was shot three times by the suspect and died while receiving medical attention. Her aunt said she lived long enough to identify her killer.
However, at the court on Friday morning, relatives of the murdered teen turned up in their numbers to get a glimpse of the man who took the life of the teenager.
Based on news reports in the United States, her grandfather, Harold Mercurius said “You see the pictures on the TV… in articles on your phone… I just wanted to see him for myself.”
Mercurius’ father, Dexter Mercurius, wanted to see if he recogniSed his daughter’s killer. “I know this person used to live right in the neighboUrhood, and I wanted to see if I knew this guy – but honestly, I never knew this guy,” he said. “My daughter’s 16 and he’s 24. I would like to know why he did this. It’s still hard for me right now.”
A motive for the killing was not immediately disclosed. Stephens said nothing as detectives escorted him to a waiting unmarked squad car.
The 24-year-old, who has more than a dozen arrests under his belt, was charged with murder and weapons possession.
The dead teenager moved to New York from Guyana three years ago and lived with her aunt, who was her primary caregiver. The teen, who attended Edward R Murrow High School, often cared for her young cousin and wanted to become a nurse.