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A 15-year-old boy with a violent history has been arrested and charged with the shooting death of an 11-year-old girl in New York City while on a scooter and authorities are looking for the alleged driver of the vehicle.
Matthew Godwin was waiting to be arraigned Friday on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and weapons possession for the death of Kyahara Tay, who was gunned down by a stray bullet in the Bronx, the New York Police Department said. He was taken into custody while at a hotel with his mother.
Authorities also identified Omar Bojang, 18, as the suspect they believe was driving the scooter from which the shooting occurred on Monday. Officials urged him to surrender to authorities.
Tay was struck in the stomach but was the unintended target of the shooting, the NYPD said. The target was a 13-year-old boy who was not hit.
“Instead of hitting his intended target however, he ended the life of a totally innocent, completely uninvolved 11-year-old girl,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell told reporters. “I won’t say she was in the wrong place because why shouldn’t an 11-year-old child be able to stand outside in broad daylight.”
The 13-year-old spoke with the NYPD but investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting, officials said. The weapon used had not been found.
Tay was with a family member when the gunfire erupted just before 5 p.m. Monday near Fox Street.
“We’re talking about an 11-year-old girl with her whole future — her whole family devastated with this loss. At this point, we cannot bring her back,” her aunt, Norka Sanchez, said earlier this week, Fox New York reported.
Mayor Eric Adams spoke Friday about the rash of shootings and homicides involving underage offenders across the city.
“Over and over again, we’re seeing 11, 15, 18. Not only the shooters, but the victims,” he said.
Godwin has a long violent history, police said. In 2019, when he was 12, he was assaulted by a gang member and was shot Jan. 6, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
Bojang is an alleged gang member and has a June 2020 arrest for gun possession. That case went to juvenile court. He was also the subject of an arrest warrant for robbery involving three incidents in which he and another suspect displayed guns to their victims, who were lured to the area through social media.
He was also involved in two shootings, Essig said. Bojang and another male were shot in the leg in April 2020 and he was also shot in November of that year.
Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark said the shooting encapsulates the ongoing surge of violence in her borough where young kids are brazenly opening fire in public areas with no regard for human life.
“We’re talking about a gunman who is too young to be called a gunman because he’s 15-years-old,” she said.
In 2022, 25 children ages 16 and younger were arrested for gun possession in the Bronx, she said. Tay was the second child killed in the Bronx from gun violence this year.
In total, 16 children ages 16 and younger have been shot in the Bronx, Clark said.