Police shoot teen who brandished fake gun in New York: officials


by Philip Marcelo

NEW YORK (AP) — Video released late Saturday shows a police officer shooting a 13-year-old boy in New York who was pinned to the ground after he ran from police and pointed a fake handgun at them.

The teenager was killed late Friday night in the city of Utica, about 240 miles (400 kilometers) northwest of Manhattan, after police stopped two young men who fled and pointed an object that appeared to be a handgun at pursuing officers, authorities said.

The police department released the body camera video after public outrage. The state attorney general will lead an investigation into the shooting and determine whether it was justified.

Local media reports identified the youth as Nyah Mwe, a 13-year-old Myanmar-born Karen refugee and an 8th grade student at Donovan Middle School, and police spokesman Lt. Michael Curley confirmed the name Saturday.

Utica, a city of more than 65,000 residents located along the Mohawk River, is home to more than 4,200 people from Myanmar, according to The Center, a nonprofit that helps resettle refugees.

The Karens are an ethnic minority that is one of the groups at war with the military rulers of the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. The military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021 and suppressed widespread nonviolent protests demanding a return to democratic rule.

This is a breaking news update. The previous AP story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) — A police officer in upstate New York shot a 13-year-old boy who was pinned to the ground as he fled from police carrying a fake handgun, authorities said Saturday.

Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said the shooting happened about 10:15 p.m. Friday when officers stopped two young men for an unspecified “police investigation.”

One of them, identified by police as Nyah Mwe, allegedly ran from officers and “showed” a handgun, which was later identified as a replica of a Glock 17 Gen 5 handgun with a detachable magazine. Williams said that during “a ground struggle” with the teen, one of the officers fired a shot that struck the boy in the chest.

The teen was “immediately” given first aid by officers and was taken to Wynn Hospital, where he died, the chief said.

The fake gun used by the teen “is a realistic looking gun in all aspects, with Glock markings, signature, detachable magazine and serial number,” police spokesman Lt. Michael Curley said in an email. “However, ultimately it only fires pellets or BBs.”

A video posted on Facebook shows an officer chasing Nyah Mwe and pinning him to the ground. It also shows the officer punching the teen as two other officers arrive. A gunshot is heard, then the teen falls to the ground and the officers immediately stand down.

Williams cautioned that the video captured by eyewitnesses may not capture the entire incident.

The officers involved in the shooting, whose names were not immediately released, have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

The shooting took place in the city of Utica, about 240 miles (400 kilometers) northwest of Manhattan, and is home to more than 4,200 people from Myanmar, according to The Center, a nonprofit that helps resettle refugees.

Nyah Mwe, who local media reports said was a Grade 8 student at Donovan Middle School, has been identified as a Myanmar-born refugee and a member of the Karen ethnic minority.

The Karens are an ethnic minority that is one of the groups at war with the military rulers of the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. The military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021 and suppressed widespread nonviolent protests demanding a return to democratic rule.

During a tense news conference Saturday, Williams did not say why police stopped the two young men or what the investigation was about. The news conference ended early as Williams, the city's mayor and an interpreter had difficulty speaking because of repeated outbursts from the audience. Community members, including the young man's family, were also in attendance.

Williams had pledged to release the unedited video from the officers’ body-worn cameras but had not done so as of Saturday evening.

The police department is conducting its own internal investigation to see whether the officers followed policies and training. The state attorney general, who did not respond to a request for comment Saturday, will open its own case to determine whether the shooting was justified.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased at this difficult time,” Williams said. “This is a sad and painful incident for everyone.”

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