NEW YORK (CMC) – A Haitian American legislator has paid tribute to a 15-year-old Haitian-boy who was shot dead Friday night in the lobby of an apartment building, where he lived with his family, on Flatbush Avenue, in Little Haiti, Brooklyn.
The police report that Samuel Joseph – a sophomore at the High School for Youth and Community Development on the Erasmus Hall campus in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and one of eight siblings from a family of Haitian immigrants – was shot and killed in front of his sister by a hooded gunman.
“Even in his young age, Samuel Joseph was an inspiration to others in the Flatbush area, encouraging them to take up extracurricular activities to stay preoccupied and out of trouble,” New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation Saturday night.
“When he wasn’t at school or at home, he would also frequent the Flatbush YMCA to play basketball games with the other neighborhood children,” added Bichotte, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, including Flatbush.
“My sincerest condolences go out to Samuel Joseph’s family and loved ones,” continued Bichotte. “Too many bright and talented children are taken too soon. Too many families are left with trauma as a result of senseless violence.”
Police said Samuel was exiting his apartment building to get something to eat from a nearby eatery, about 5:45 p.m., when the masked assailant confronted him.
He was shot in the face, head and chest, and died at a nearby hospital, police said.
Assemblywoman Bichotte said surveillance video recovered by police from adjacent businesses showed two young men stopping and speaking to one of Samuel’s sisters in front of their building.
Police said no one is yet to be arrested in the case nor a clear motive for the shooting has been established.
“This was planned, but I don’t know if it was the right target,” said Bichotte, adding that stories like these “don’t get any less heartbreaking” the more she hears about them.
She demanded that gun violence in that community end.
“Children, especially those of color, should be allowed to enjoy their childhood without fearing for their lives,” Bichotte said. “My colleagues and I will be watching this story closely.
“This incident only makes us more fervent in the fight against gun violence and for the protection of children,” added Bichotte, stating that, just last month, a slew of bills regulating the usage, purchase and transport of guns were signed into law in the New York Legislature.
She said these laws will go into effect later in the year.
Friends and family described Joseph as good kid, full of life and ambition. “He was just a good kid. He was not a gang member,” a relative was reported by the NY Daily News as saying. “He was always laughing and had jokes.”
A friend noted, “He wanted to be like (NBA star) Stephen Curry. He was a lot of fun.” – CMC