15-year-old accused in Midtown shooting charged with attempted murder

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Sunday, February 11, 2024
15-year-old Times Square shooting suspect charged as an adult
Anthony Carlo has the latest details.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 15-year-old accused of opening fire in Midtown, Manhattan, Thursday night has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, assault, attempted assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

Jesus Rivas-Figueroa was charged as an adult.

Rivas-Figueroa has significant ties outside the United States and has only been in the country for a short time. Police say the teen is a migrant from Venezuela who was living with his mother in a city shelter. He gave statements to police admitting guilt and is facing significant jail time.

The teen was unexpressive as he was escorted in front of flashing cameras into a Manhattan courtroom to see a judge. His demeanor was seemingly different from what it was during his arrest Friday evening at a home in Yonkers -- Rivas-Figueroa was in tears as US Marshals put him in handcuffs. Prosecutors revealed in court Saturday that the teen was hiding from police in a closet.

NYPD officials said a combination of video evidence, canvasses, forensics, ballistic recovery and witness accounts led to the capture of the suspect.

"We literally spoke to hundreds of individuals," said NYPD Asst. Chief of Detectives Bureau Jason Savino. "We obtained what we can be described as pristine photos of our subjects. Now those photos ultimately lead to the identification of our shooter."

"Just like we promised, less than 24 hours later, he's locked up and off our streets," NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said.

Officers responded to a shooting inside JD Sports just after 7 p.m. Thursday. On the second floor of the store, the suspects started stealing clothing and possibly sneakers and placing the items into a bag, according to NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell.

Two of the three were confronted in the lobby by a security guard who took back the stolen items, police said.

The teen, who was seen on surveillance video dressed in white, fired toward the guard but instead struck a tourist from Brazil in the leg. The 38-year-old woman, Taliele Ribeiro Lemos, has since been treated and released from the hospital.

Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan spoke to the victim, who said she heard a noise, almost like a bomb, which was so loud that she lost her hearing. She says she soon discovered that she was shot.

"I felt a pain in my body, but I didn't know where it was coming from," she said. "I started feeling my body to figure out where I was hit and I realized my leg was bleeding under my pants."

Josh Einiger has more.

She says she left Brazil because it is a dangerous place, but Thursday's events have left her scared here as well.

"I always felt safe to walk around here in New York, now I'm a little scared," she said. "You don't expect this to happen here."

The gunman and the other person fled on foot. As police gave chase the teen fired twice toward an officer, who drew his gun but did not return fire due to crowds.

The suspect dumped his shoes and jacket and ducked into the subway at 46th Street and 6th Avenue where video shows him crossing the tracks and emerging back onto the street.

Authorities say that at some point during the chase, the shooter shot twice at the officer, missing both times. The officer drew his gun, but did not fire due to the number of people nearby.

He said police officers showed tremendous restraint by not returning fire.

The suspected gunman, is also a suspect in a Jan. 27 armed robbery in the Bronx as well as a previous shots fired incident in Midtown near Central Park, where .45 caliber shell casings were recovered.

Forensics will attempt to match those shell casings to Thursday night's shooting.

Police apprehended the two teens that were with the suspected gunman on Thursday. Neither one, ages 15 and 16, has been charged as detectives attempt to determine "what role, if any" they played in the shooting.

All three are Venezuelan and go to school together, police said.

NYPD officials insist visitors should have nothing to fear, despite the shooting.

"We are still the safest big city in the world," Chell said. "When you see these incidents our cops are right there where they're supposed to be. We'd like to prevent everything from happening, but the second best thing is to be there, make arrests and keep this community safe."


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.