Boy, 13, shoots and wounds Snapchat rival, also 13, in Bronx playground — mom turns suspect in after seeing wanted poster
A 13-year-old boy wanted for shooting a rival his same age over a Snapchat feud was arrested after his mother saw a wanted poster and hauled him into a Bronx NYPD stationhouse, police said Wednesday.
The two boys had been sparring in messages to each other on the popular phone app — and on Oct. 6 the suspect sent a message threatening to shoot the victim, police said.
The next day, the argument moved from online messages to the street, with the 4-foot-11, 110-pound teen allegedly shooting the victim in the left knee inside Hunts Point Playground about 5:35 p.m., police said.
“You just shake your head,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on PIX11 Wednesday morning. “It’s terrible all the way around. We have to do better as a society.”
EMS took the victim to Harlem Hospital in stable condition.
“It went in and it came out, so that’s good,” the victim’s mother, Suleykie Rivera, said. “They caught it in time, they called 911 in time. He was really lucky. If the bullet would have went in and stayed that would have been tragic.”
The boy was still recovering in Harlem Hospital on Wednesday. He had also tested positive for COVID-19, the mother said.
Rivera, 33, said she didn’t know the shooter or anything about the Snapchat feud.
Social media is really a bad thing for these kids. They shouldn’t even have social media,” she said.
Snapchat allows users exchange pictures and videos — called snaps — that are meant to disappear after they’re viewed. The app, which is particularly popular among teens, has about 293 million daily active users worldwide, according to the company.
She learned of the shooting from one of her son’s friends.
“I was just shocked,” she said. “I couldn’t think, I couldn’t feel, nothing, you know. He’s 13!”
The teen shooter ran off but was captured on surveillance video, gun in hand. A second suspect, still being sought, also appears on the video, clad in a red sweatshirt and riding his bike behind the shooter, police said.
Cops released the video Sunday and asked the public’s help tracking down the suspect, known to police by his nickname Chulo.
The suspected shooter’s mother, who declined comment, saw a wanted poster with her son’s image, took him to the 41st Precinct stationhouse Tuesday afternoon and asked for a lawyer, police said.
The pint-sized suspect was charged with attempted murder, assault and harassment. His name was not released because he is a minor. The Daily News is not naming the 13-year-old victim because of his age.
Cops said that the teen shooter was processed through Family Court and returned to his mother’s custody.
Shea said that the NYPD has been trying to get to children “before they get into the violence” but more needs to be done.
“What do you do with a 13-year-old in this circumstance?” Shea asked. “There is no right answer. The courts will figure it out and you hope. You feel for the victim, but you also think about the side of the family of the child that pulled the trigger here. There are no winners.”
Amanda Palermo, 30, said she heard the shots.
“I was sitting right next to the basketball court. Four shots,” she said. “A bunch of kids came and then all you heard was four shots and he got shot in his leg. “
She said the boy fell to the ground and the shooter dashed off.
“When that happened the other kids in the park ran away,” she said. “The only ones that stayed were (the victim’s) friends.”
Local parents said the suspect and his crew have slashed tires of cars, thrown beer bottles at mothers and scared little kids with threatening looks. One of the menacing boys has a black dog that he sics on smaller kids, they said.
“Last year, they stole my son’s bike,” a local mother said. “I called the police and they never came. ”
She said parents have to take more responsibility.
“These boys have been making this a violent area,” she said, adding that one of the boys punched her son in the stomach during the robbery.
“These young boys know that the police will never come” she said. “It’s a huge problem. And as an adult, I can’t do anything against minors.”
Scared neighbors said there are also mischievousgirls who egg the boys on to fight.
“They’re really aggressive,” one of the mothers said. “They’re always alone, they’re never with their parents. One time we asked about their parents and they laughed at us.”
The parents said one of the boys flashed a knife when they threatened to call the cops but they were unaware of any of the boys carrying guns.
Michael Greene, 63, a painter who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1960s, said locals have worked to improve the area. The shooting didn’t help.
“It was kind of disturbing, a 13-year-old shooting a 13-year-old in a public park,” Greene said. “This neighborhood is trying to clean up and it’s like we’re right back where we started.”
Greene praised the mother who turned in her own flesh and blood.
“Well, that was a good thing,” Greene said. “That’s what parents are supposed to do. The kids, they so-called don’t want to snitch.”
“I feel for the young kid because he’s so young,” Greene said of the suspect. “He’s got his whole life in front of him and you’re making decisions like that. You’re supposed to run around, play fighting, playing PlayStation, eating candy. Not doing stuff like that.”
Rivera said her son is focused on his recovery, hoping to get back on the field to play football again when his knee heels. She said the doctors have given him a good prognosis for his recovery.
“I’m so thankful. He’s gonna be good. He can go back to football. He can go back to school. He’s in shock right now, so right now he isn’t really talking. Right now, he can’t even believe he got shot,” she said.
“And it’s just sad. Kids are kids. Kids trying to kill each other. It’s sad for my son who got shot, but it’s sad for the little boy that shot my son, because he’s also a kid.”