A New York corrections officer has been charged for shooting and killing a Bronx teen who was playing with a water gun, according to the New York Daily News. Dion Middleton, 45, was charged with manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon. At the moment, there’s no evidence to suggest the teen fired the water gun or aimed it at the officer before he was killed.
Raymond Chaluisant, 18, was found by police Thursday with a water gun filled with “Orbeez” pellets, soft beads that expand in water. Per the report, his sister Jiraida Esquilin said they were just having a water gun fight.
“They were just having fun. It’s a new nerf gun that shoots water. The whole neighborhood was having a water gun fight. It was 90 degrees.”
More on the incident from NY Daily News:
After he was shot, Chaluisant was driven by a friend about six blocks north to Grand Concourse and East Tremont Ave. where he was found by cops after someone called 911.
Esquilin said her brother was shot at close range in the chin. Medics took him to St. Barnabas where he died about 1:30 a.m.
Correction Department rules require Middleton to immediately report that he shot his gun to supervisors.
Sources said he did not report the shooting, fled the scene and then went to work. Detectives traced Middleton using surveillance cameras following his car and he was later arrested at work.
Apparently these water pellet guns have been a target for the NYPD. They released a statement on Twitter following the shooting warning against the use of bead blaster guns.
Bead Blasters shoot gel water beads propelled by a spring-loaded air pump, making them an air rifle. Air rifles are a violation in NYC & are unlawful to possess.
Violators found in possession of these will be issued a criminal summons & the weapon will be confiscated. pic.twitter.com/otLkGAHFu4
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 21, 2022
According to The Washington Post, arrests have been made all across the country related to toy-gun shootings as it stems from a TikTok trend. The NYPD considers the bead blasters as air rifles. Unlawful possession of an air rifle can result in arrest.
Chaluisant’s sister told NY Daily News their family was still grieving the death of their father a few months ago.
“I don’t know what to say anymore. It’s just heartbreaking. Everybody loved him, he had family and friends, people that cared about him,” she said.
As if being a gun owner wasn’t already an issue for melanated folk, now owning anything that looks like a gun can cost you your life. Pack up the nerf guns.