New York City correction officer charged in murder of teen allegedly in possession of 'bead blaster'

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Saturday, July 23, 2022
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A New York City correction officer has been charged with the murder of an 18-year-old man in the Bronx. Jim Dolan has more.

BRONX (WABC) -- A New York City correction officer has been charged with the murder of an 18-year-old man in the Bronx.

Police say 45-year-old Dion Middleton shot Raymond Chaluisant on the Cross Bronx Expressway Thursday morning.

The teen was in the passenger seat of a car. His mother said she couldn't believe her son's life ended in such a manner.

"The kids were playing with water guns," she said. "They were playing with water guns. Somebody killed them."

Police found a so-called "bead blaster" in the vehicle, which shoots gel water beads propelled by a spring-loaded air pump.

Their design classifies them as an air rifle, and they are illegal in the city.

Police are looking into whether Chaluisant pointed the weapon in any way, possibly during a neighborhood game with friends, prompting the suspected shooter, who was off duty, to open fire.

Chaluisant was shot in the face.

"Everybody loved him," one man in the neighborhood said. "He loved his family. Everything about the kid, he was a sweet kid."

Authorities also say Middleton failed to report the incident and showed up at work as normal.

He was arrested at the firing range where he works later in the day after police recovered surveillance video of the shooting and tracked him down.

Middleton has been a correction officer since 2003.

Those who knew the victim say that because of the suspect's job, they wonder if any real justice will come.

"They're going to go easy on him, that's what they always do," the neighborhood man said. "They hold their kind down. When they're wrong, they wipe it under the bridge. This is going to be another senseless murder. Nothing is going to get solved.

In addition, a traffic agent was shot with an object Thursday in the Bronx.

It was initially reported as a BB gun shooting, but now it is being considered as a possible bead blaster shooting.

Correction Officers' Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio said the officer "fired a single shot in a situation where he felt his life was in immediate danger, particularly after feeling something hit his back."

"The Correction Officers' Benevolent Association extends our deepest condolences to the family of Raymond Chaluisant, as they grieve the tragic loss of their loved one during this painful time," he said in a statement. "While this incident remains under investigation, we are aware that the media has reported a number of things which are not based in facts. Our officer fired a single shot in a situation where he felt his life was in immediate danger, particularly after feeling something hit his back. We are also aware that a NYPD Traffic Agent had also reported being hit with pellets in the same vicinity an hour beforehand. Toy guns no longer resemble toys, as the images of this water pistol demonstrate and they remain an ongoing threat to public safety. We will provide Officer Middleton with the best possible representation to ensure that his legal rights are protected."

The NYPD also tweeted a warning about bead blasters.

There is no reported link between the incidents.

Middleton pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

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