By Joe Kemp
February 3, 2012
Two cops were placed on modified duty Friday, a day after one of them fatally shot an unarmed Bronx teen inside his apartment, police said.
Ramarley Graham, 19, was hit once in the chest as the teen ran into the bathroom of the Williamsbridge apartment about 3 p.m. Thursday, police said.
Police say officers ordered Graham, 30, to show his hands as he ran toward them in a hallway of the E. 229th St. home.
“Show me your hands! Show me your hands!” cops yelled, according to police.
“Gun! Gun!” an officer said before firing once at close range as Graham ran into the bathroom.
The bullet struck Graham in the upper right side of his chest. He was rushed to Montefiore Medical Center, where he later died.
No gun was recovered from the scene, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters at a press conference Friday. Only a bag of marijuana was found in the toilet.
“Our observations at this juncture are we see an unarmed man being shot,” Kelly said. “That should concern us.”
The officer who fired the shot and his sergeant were both placed on modified duty for the duration of the investigation, Kelly said.
Kelly said restricting the officers to administrative duties is “in the best interest of the department at this time.”
Moments before the shooting, officers from the NYPD’s Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit — who were conducting a drug operation at a bodega on Whiteplains Road and E. 228th St. — spotted Graham adjusting his waistband and thought he had a gun, a police source said.
The cops began to follow Graham and two others when they walked out of the store and into a building on E. 229th St., Kelly said.
As Graham crossed the street to enter the building, the cops reported over the radio that they saw “the butt of a gun” on the teen, Kelly said.
Cops approached Graham a short time later when he exited the building, Kelly said.
“Police — stop! Don’t move!” one officer shouted at Graham, but the teen continued to walk hastily into his apartment building, according to Kelly.
The door locked behind Graham and four officers, including their sergeant, tried to break it down, Kelly said. Two of the officers went to the rear of the building, where the first-floor tenant let them inside.
Those two officers returned to the front to let the others inside, before they went to Graham’s second-floor apartment, Kelly said.
The officers knocked at the door, but there was no answer, Kelly said.
“They kicked the door in,” Kelly said, and two of the officers burst into the apartment.
As they went down the hallway, Graham emerged and ran toward the officers before turning into the bathroom, where he was shot.
Graham’s 58-year-old grandmother was close behind him when the officer shot him with his Sig Sauer .9-mm, Kelly said. The victim’s 6-year-old brother was also in the apartment, but he did not witness the shooting.
“They chased him into the house,” said the teen’s mother, Constance Malcolm, 39, soon after the shooting. “Nobody deserves to be shot in their own home.”
Although police initially reported that there was a struggle before the shooting, statements made by the second officer and the victim’s grandmother indicated there was no contact between Graham and the officer who shot him, Kelly said.
“He had some weed on him,” said a family friend. “It wasn’t a big deal. They shot him inside the house. … He didn’t have a gun.”
Carmen Laspina, 40, was watching TV with her three daughters when she heard cops swarming the street.
“The block was really quiet and then, suddenly, you hear all these sirens, helicopters, and I see all these cops running,” she said.