Image source: David Dee Delgado/POOL
The growing number of armed violence in 2022 has caused great concern among citizens, and New York has again witnessed another murder, this time at the hands of an officer.
Last week, an 18-year-old man was killed by a prison officer in New York City.
The cause of the shooting? A toy gun.
According to police reports, Raymond Chaluisant (18) shot a car with a toy water pistol.
Officer Dion Middleton, 45, who was off duty, shot Chaluisant with his own gun. Sources say Middleton fired more than once.
Police say it’s unclear who Chaluisant was aiming for.
He was shot in the face around 1:30 a.m. while sitting in the passenger side of an Acura.
Raymond Chaluisant was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead. Meanwhile, according to the Attorney General’s Office, Middleton showed up for work hours later and was arrested.
The prosecutor’s office is pursuing the case on Middleton’s employment as a law enforcement officer.
Police found a shell at the scene but determined that Chaluisant was shot almost half a mile away on Morris Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway.
The “lethal” weapon
Police found a toy gun shooting water-filled gel beads near the shooting.
Additionally, police sources said Chaluisant fired an “Orbeez” pistol, which looks like a pistol and shoots gel water beads from a spring-loaded air pump.
On Friday, police tweeted that bead blasters are now considered an air rifle and illegal in New York City.
“Bead blasters shoot gel water bears propelled by a spring-loaded air pump, making them an air rifle. Air rifles are a violation in NYC and are unlawful to possess,” tweeted NYPD News.
“Violators found in possession of these will be issued a criminal summon & the weapon will be confiscated.”
Middleton works in training at the NYPD shooting range in Rodman’s Neck, where he reportedly went to work after the shooting.
Police tracked him down through surveillance, investigation and monitoring of his vehicle.
Middleton was arrested on Friday while working at Rodman’s Neck.
The case of Middleton
A New York union lawyer said Middleton saw a passenger in the car shake his hand after being stabbed with what he described as “looked like glass.”
“I’m trying to provide context,” attorney Joey Jackson explained over Middleton’s initial court appearance.
“That context would suggest to the court at the time my client discharged a single round, he was doing so under the belief that he was in immediate fear of death of his life.”
The killer was charged with murder, manslaughter and possession of criminal weapons.
Prosecutors said Dion Middleton told investigators he did not see anyone hold a gun or heard gunfire.
“He also stated that was not injured and was not hurt and he was not shot,” said Justin Siebel of the state attorney general’s office.
“The defendant then continued walking on his regular course and did not at any point stop and call the police or inform anybody.”
Jiraida Esquilin, 29, Chaluisant’s older sister, said her brother took part in a gunfight with neighborhood friends on a hot summer night.
“I can’t believe a corrections officer killed my brother,” said Esquilin. “Everything nowadays is a rage thing.”
“They were just having fun. It’s a nerf gun that shoots water,” she added. “The whole neighborhood was having a water gun fight. It was 90 degrees.”
Jiraida Esquilin said her family still mourns her father, who died five months ago.
She also said his mother could not identify her fatally wounded son, saying he was shot in the chin at close range.
“My brother was well-known and well-loved by everyone in that neighborhood,” Esquilin said.
“He was just hanging out and having a good time.”
Although the family does not know who Chaluisant was staying with, he had previously told his mother that he was going to McDonald’s.
The body of Raymond Chaluisant was found half a mile from the scene. He was lying unconscious in the passenger seat of a silver Acura when police arrived.
Police have not released the name of the driver, a 22-year-old Yonkers acquaintance from Chaluisant.
“I can’t believe they just drove him and left him there,” Esquilin said of the Acura driver.
Chaluisant’s family was puzzled that Middleton returned to work after the young man was shot.
“He did not deserve this, especially from a whole correction officer that was off duty,” said Esquilin.
“And then for him to go to work, as if nothing happened – it’s mind blowing. He basically had no remorse because you’re going into work the next day knowing you shot an 18-year-old little boy.”