Five arrested in shooting of Bronx teen

November 18, 2009 2:44:16 PM PST
Five people were arrested, including the 16-year-old alleged gunman, in the shooting of a 15-year-old girl in the Bronx. Inside the 42nd precinct, police took statements from the five suspects.

Hours later, they were under arrest.

The NYPD says the person who unintentionally shot 15-year-old Vada Vasquez is just one year older than she is, as 16- year-old Carvette Gentile and four others stand accused of three serious crimes.

Police identify the other suspects as:

  • 18-year-old Rohan Francis
  • 19-year-old Clivie Smith
  • 20-year-old Cleve Smith and
  • 23-year-old Dwayne Taylor

    All five are charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon and criminal use of a firearm.

    Police say Gentile was supposedly aiming for 19-year-old Tyrone Creighton, who he hit with two bullets in an alleged retaliation for a Rikers Island fight that Creighton's brother was involved in.

    But police counted more than two bullets fired on Monday afternoon.

    As Vasquez walked home from school, she was caught in the crossfire and struck by a bullet in the back of her head.

    The arrests come after a night of prayers for Vasquez who is locked in a silent struggle for life.

    Tears flowed in the Bronx as hundreds of people with candles in hand took to the streets in support of Vasquez.

    New York may claim to be the safest big city in America, but some people are feeling anything but safe and they're trying to find an answer: how to stop the violence?

    People came from all over the city to show support for the wounded girl and to show solidarity for the people who live in the neighborhood, who live with the sound of gunfire, live with the consequences of the gunfire and pray now for the day it stops.

    When the speeches were done and the prayers were said, when the candles burned down and the tears wiped away, the people here went home to the same violent world that left the teen with a bullet in her head and fighting for her life.

    The arrests are little consolation for the family of the young girl with such big dreams.

    "She wants to go to college and pursue a career in graphics or something. She likes video games and stuff," said the victim's sister, Mandy Boodram.

    Everyone at the vigil wants to see the violence end, but few are optimistic that the children will grow up in a world much different.

    One woman said she prayed for a day when it would be safer in this neighborhood, but she said she was reluctant to get involved because she too might become a target. But, as Vasquez shows, you don't have to be a target to become a victim.