Police search for two suspects in boardwalk shooting

June 10, 2011 8:16:24 PM PDT
Police say they are looking for two suspects in connection with the deadly boardwalk shooting at Brighton Beach.

Part of the boardwalk remained shut down on Friday as detectives searched the scene for clues a day after Tysha Jones, 16, was murdered during a fun day at the beach.

In amateur video, there are glimpses people rushing to Jones' aid. She was one of five people shot on Brighton BeachThursday evening. Police says the five victims were sitting on a bench near Brighton 6th Street, when the shooting started.

Jones was struck in her armpit and later died at Coney Island hospital.

"The first shots, everyone ran," one witness said. "Everybody was running the opposite way and throwing themselves on the floor and completely going insane."

Police called a level two mobilization, rushing additional officers in from across Brooklyn and Staten Island.

"We didn't know whether to run or to stay," another witness said.

"There were rumors that it was firecrackers, but we saw the man fall," that witness' friend added.

Investigators on Friday said witnesses described two black men in their teens or 20s approaching the boardwalk from the beach, shooting.

One was 5'9", chubby in a white tee and orange hat; the other was wearing a light tank top.

Five .380-caliber shells were recovered from the scene and are being processed, police said. Detectives are looking for more ballistic evidence.

Detectives do not believe the shooting was a gang retaliation. One of the shooting victims had been involved in a dispute on the beach in which he was hit on the head with a bottle.

Commissioner Ray Kelly said they have beefed up patrols. He also met with concerned residents about whether it was gang-related.

As police rolled in a portable tower Leo Kharonov was watching and wondering if this will bring the calm back to Brighton Beach.

"Now they put the cameras over here. Now they are going to change something. (Do you think that will make things safer?) Yeah, I think so," Kharonov said.

In Harlem, around a tender memorial of candles and stuffed animals, a family in mourning helped others to know Tysha Jones.

"My baby's not here no more because somebody put a gun in their hand and thought they were in the wild, wild, west," said Kevin Wilson, Tysha's father.

She was not in a gang her family stresses.

She was just having fun like other kids on a hot day at the beach.

Her family and friends gathered close together, finding comfort in only memories now.

"She was very bright, very talented, fun loving, jokeful, you know, she would make your day," said Barbara Tice, a friend.

Her father is pleading for an arrest.

"Please catch him, him, those, anybody. Please for they destroyed our family," Wilson said.

Out on the boardwalk, where a reward is offered, there were fewer people out on a hot day.

There are now more police on patrol too.

"We want to make certain that the people here feel safe. There is an uncertainty as a result of the shooting. We talk to store owners. We want to reassure them," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

But Tysha's family too has a message.

"Kids, killing kids, and it must stop," said Rev. Vernon Williams, a friend of the family.

The other victims include a 23-year-old man, who was listed in critical condition at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the torso. The other three, all men ages 21, 25 and 26, are listed in stable condition.

"It's not good," a witness said. "I feel like this is unfortunate, at a beach. Everybody comes out with their children."

Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities.