Suspect charged in murder of Brooklyn babysitter

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N.J. Burkett is live in Downtown Brooklyn with the latest details.

Taariq Stephens is over six and a half feet tall, and is charged with using a submachine gun to kill a 16-year-old babysitter. The victim's father watched in disgust as Stephens was led from the 67th Precinct in handcuffs.

"Honestly I never knew this guy, I've never seen this guy. I want to know why this guy killed my daughter, because my daughter's sixteen, and this guy's twenty four," said the victim's father, Dexter Mercurius.

Stephens surrendered to detectives Thursday evening, but refused to answer so much as a singly question about the murder of Shemel Mercurius. Investigators say she was babysitting her three-year-old cousin, when Stephens took the elevator to the sixth floor with a .40 caliber submachine gun in his backpack.

When Mercurius reluctantly opens the door, detectives say Stephens will fire a series of shots, killing Mercuruius in cold blood. Before she died, relatives say she gave police her killer's name.

"We have texting back and forth, it's not romantic - we are still trying, it's difficult to determine. We will do more work on the phone messages. We still have a lot of people to talk to," said NYPD Chief of Detectives, Robert Boyce.

Relatives and neighbors are just as puzzled as everyone else.

"They just dying too young. Life is too precious, you gotta hold on to it, you know?" says neighbor Virginia Evans.

Investigators said Shemel only met Stephens two weeks ago, and they don't have a motive for the murder. Stephens hasn't been cooperative, police said, and they also haven't recovered the gun.

The Mercurius family released a statement Thursday night saying: "We would like to thank the NYPD for their quick apprehension of the suspect in the murder of Shemel Mercurius. We are now focused on making final arrangements to bury one of the most loving, friendly, and kind 16-year-olds. We are asking for the public's support to help with her homegoing service and burial arrangements. A scholarship in her memory will also be established. Our sincere appreciation and thanks for all your generous gifts and prayers."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Taariq Stephens in custody:

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shootingchild killedEast FlatbushNew York City
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