A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in McLaughlin Park, in Downtown Brooklyn, on Wednesday afternoon after two people approached him and started a verbal dispute that turned physical, the police said.
The boy, whom the police identified as Unique Smith, was a student at Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools two blocks from the park. He was dismissed from school at around 1:30 p.m. before making his way to the park, according to information provided by James W. Essig, the chief of detectives for the New York Police Department, at a news conference on Wednesday.
Witnesses told police that Unique was sitting on a bench with two high-school-age girls when the group was approached by two boys. Shortly after, an argument began, leading to a fist fight, the police said. One of the boys, who was wearing black clothing and a black ski mask, took out a firearm and shot Unique a single time in the abdomen, according to the police.
The police responded to the park, located at Tillary Street and Jay Street, at around 1:45 p.m. Unique was transported to NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
There were approximately 30 people in the park when the shooting occurred, Mr. Essig said.
The two boys, who were also described as being of high school age, fled the park, the police said. The authorities are still looking for the suspects. It was not clear whether the victim and the assailants knew each other.
Mr. Essig said the two girls who were sitting with Mr. Smith were being interviewed by detectives. In addition, he said that detectives would go to the school and see if Mr. Smith had taken part in any arguments during the day.
“We see the shooting victims and the shooting perpetrators younger and younger,” Mr. Essig said. “And it’s of great concern to us.”