Investigations In Death Of Gun-Toting Teen
Both the police department's internal affairs bureau and detectives from the Queens District Attorney's staff are looking into the fatal shooting of an 18- year-old Edgemere man who was killed, police say, after he allegedly pointed a 9 mm automatic handgun at them.
Police say that a four-man anti-crime unit was patrolling nearby Bayswater Park, at Beach Channel Drive and Bay 32 Street at 11:30 p.m. on November 21, when they spotted three young men coming out of the park.
Local police sources told The Wave that the park is known for late-night drug deals, and it is watched closely by precinct cops.
While the cops were getting out of their unmarked patrol car, sources said, one of the three began to run.
He was later identified by police as Dashawn Vasconcellos, 18, of 443 Beach 40 Street.
While one of the four officers detained the other two men, one gave chase and the other two drove their vehicle in the direction of the foot chase as backup.
At Bay 32 Street, between Far Rockaway Boulevard and Beach Channel Drive, Vasconcellos turned, holding a loaded handgun and pointed it in the direction of the three officers.
The three police officers fired a total of 15 times, striking Vas concellos with 11 of those shots. A spokesperson for the Chief Medical Examiner said that he was struck three times in the back, once in the chest, once in the right arm and six times in his legs on both sides of his body.
Another bullet turned up in the side of a nearby house and still another in an SUV that was parked on the street.
EMS responded and transported Vascon - cellos to the trauma center at Jamaica Hospi tal, where he was declared dead about an hour after he arrived.
Police say that a "defaced" loaded Bryco semi-automatic 9 mm handgun was recovered at the scene. Police sources say that a "defaced" weapon is one in which the serial number has been removed to hinder the identification of the weapon and its provenance.
One woman, who claimed to be a close family friend, said that his mother, Edna, was "too distraught to talk because her son had been murdered."
Several others refused to speak for the record.
Theresa Boyke Richards, who identified herself as the dead man's aunt, said that he was told to stop, but he was afraid and started running.
"He started running and they shot him," she said.
Another woman, who declined to be identified, said that Vasconcellos carried the gun in his book bag for "protection."
She said that Vasconcellos was enrolled in a special program at Jamaica High School and that he lived most of the time in Rosedale with his girlfriend and her mother.
"He wanted to be an R & B singer," she said. "He was trying to keep away from Rockaway - away from the project, but he came back for a party and look where he got killed."
Despite the fact that police sources say the shooting was within department guidelines, some locals termed it "an assassination."
"This was another Sean Bell," said one unidentified caller to The Wave, referring to the police shooting of another Rockaway man three years ago. In that case, police officers were put on trial and found not guilty. "We have to stop cops from assassinating our black young men. The cops should be arrested and tried."
Richards said, "He didn't deserve to be killed like that. They said he pulled a gun, but I don't believe it. He was not that kind of kid."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Monday, "It is too early to call the number of shots fired excessive. The case is being reviewed both by this department and the Queens District Attorney's office. We have to see what the investigations uncover."
And, despite the fact that the New York Post reported on Tuesday that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said "on the surface, the shoot looks clean," Kevin Ryan, the chief spokesperson for Brown, told The Wave that was not the case.
"We are looking into where that [quote] came from," Ryan said. "Any police shooting is investigated and we will have no comment until the investigation is completed."
A neighbor of the dead youth seemed to sum up the community's feelings.
"He didn't seem troubled at all," he said. "He's not the kind of person who would point a gun at anyone. Why would he do something so crazy, almost suicidal."