FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 15, 2017
Brooklyn Man Convicted of Fatally Shooting Teenage Girl
Defendant Stormed into Apartment Where 16-year-old was Babysitting;
Shot her Once with a Submachine Rifle
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 26-year-old man was been found guilty of first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting a 16-year-old girl with a submachine rifle. The victim was inside an apartment in East Flatbush babysitting her 3-year-old cousin at the time of the 2016 shooting.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s sinister act cut short the life of a promising young girl and undoubtedly traumatized her toddler cousin. His deadly actions destroyed lives, left her family heartbroken and deeply hurt our community. He has now been convicted and will pay for his evil actions.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Taariq Stephens, 26, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was today convicted of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling. The defendant will be sentenced on January 16, 2018, at which time he faces up to 25 years in prison.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on May 31, 2016, at approximately 5:50 p.m., the defendant pushed his way into a sixth-floor apartment inside 1406 Brooklyn Avenue in East Flatbush, while carrying a .40 caliber submachine rifle. The defendant shot 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius once in the chest.
The victim told police the first name of the man who shot her when they arrived at the apartment, according to trial testimony. She was taken to Kings County Hospital, where she died 90 minutes after the shooting. Surveillance footage showed the defendant loading the submachine rifle outside her door, and then forcing his way into the apartment after she rebuffed him. He turned himself into police two days later.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Melissa Carvajal, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.