A New York correction officer was arrested on Thursday after he shot dead a young boy firing a water gun in the Bronx. Raymond Chaluisant, 18, was firing a water gun while seated inside his car when Dion Middleton, 45, returned fire, killing the young boy. It is not known if it was intentional or if Middleton accidentally fired the gun.
He has been charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon for the shooting death of Chaluisant, according to the Daily Beast. According to sources, just prior to being shot, the victim appeared to be using a gel-pellet firing device known as a "bead blaster pistol."
The incident took place close to Morris Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway in the Tremont neighborhood, according to the outlet. A gunshot wound to the face was discovered on Chaluisant when he was discovered at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday in a silver Acura. He was brought to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared him dead.
Chaluisant was allegedly blasting a toy water cannon from inside a car when Middleton allegedly opened fire with his own weapon, shooting multiple times, according to reports. Police said it was unclear who Chaluisant had been aiming at.
Jiraida Esquilin, 29, the elder sister of Chaluisant, however, claimed that her younger sibling was simply participating in a hot summer night water gun war with neighborhood mates.
"I can't believe a correction officer killed my brother," Esquilin said. "Everything nowadays is a rage thing."
"They were just having fun," she said. "It's a new nerf gun that shoots water. The whole neighborhood was having a water gun fight. It was 90 degrees."
According to police sources, Chaluisant was using a "Orbeez" gun, which looks like a gun and fires gel water beads that are driven by a spring-loaded air pump. According to police, they are classified as air rifles and are illegal to own in New York City.
The teenager was taken urgently to St. Barnabas Hospital, but he was beyond saving.
Louis Molina, DOC Commission, issued the following the incident, "These very serious charges are in no way a reflection of the officers who work to keep our city safe every day. This officer will be immediately suspended without pay, and if the charges are true he will face the full consequences of the law and be terminated."
Family In Shock
Chaluisant's family is still unable to figure out what led Middleton to shoot the young boy. Middleton has been a correction officer since 2013. Police have launched an investigation and are yet to share further details.
Middleton allegedly went to work after the tragic shooting, according to sources. Middleton works in training at the Rodman's Neck NYPD shooting range. By following Middleton's vehicle and using surveillance sweeps, police were able to find him. The correction officer was arrested on Thursday in Rodman's Neck while at work, according to the police.
"He went and clocked in. He's a 45-year-old man," Esquilin said. "Raymond could've been his son. What a coward."
The devastated family of Chaluisant, according to his sister, was already mourning the loss of her father, who passed away five months ago. She continued, saying that her mother was unable to recognize her fatally wounded son as he had been shot in the chin from a close range.
"My brother was well known and well-loved by everyone in that neighborhood. He was just hanging out and having a good time," Esquilin said.
Although Chaluisant had earlier informed his mother that he was heading to McDonald's, the family is unsure of who he was with when he was shot dead. He was found unresponsive in the passenger seat of a silver Acura when cops reached the scene. The name of the driver or owner of the car hasn't yet been released by the police.