Matthew Godwin, a fifteen-year-old, was arrested in connection with the shooting that ended the life of the 11-year-old girl Kyhara Tay on Monday in broad daylight on a street in the Bronx, when in fact his target was another minor, according to NYPD.
Police are looking for another 18-year-old suspect, Omar Bojang. Both were publicly identified yesterday by New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Mayor Eric Adams and Detective Chief James Essig during a briefing.
Godwin was charged as an adult, after being found early Friday morning in a hotel room he shared with his mother since the night before, detailed Pix11.
The NYPD had initially estimated that the younger of the two suspects was 14 years old. There was an advertised reward of up to $10,000 for clues.
Godwin pleaded “not guilty” to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. bojang, who allegedly drove the moped from where Godwin allegedly shot, was still at large until last night.
Godwin had no prior arrests, according to Essig, but has had “prior contact with law enforcement.” At the age of 12, Godwin was reportedly a “victim of bullying” when someone punched him in the face in October 2019, asking him if he was a member of 800 YGz. a “notorious and violent gang.”
The still-requested Bojang is a known member of a subset of 800 YGz, Essig said. He did not specify whether Godwin was also in a gang, but said there were a series of violent incidents last summer involving rival gangs 800 YGz, Sev Side and Third Side. Those confrontations led to murder of three teenagers, 13, 16 and 19 years old.
Tay, 11, was hit by a stray bullet while standing outside a beauty salon in the Foxhurst neighborhood around 4:50 pm last Monday. Apparently Godwin’s intended target was a 13-year-old boy, who has not been identified by police. The motive for the shooting has not been determined.
“Instead of hitting the intended target… [Godwin] ended the life of a totally innocent and completely oblivious 11-year-old girl,” Commissioner Sewell said. “I won’t say she was in the wrong place, because why shouldn’t an 11-year-old be able to stand outside in broad daylight?”
Detectives say the bullets were fired from a scooter in the vicinity of Westchester Avenue and Fox Street. The only person hit in the shooting was the girl Tay, who was a block and a half away waiting for a family member to come out of the beauty salon, authorities said. She liked to refer to herself as “Camborican” to reflect her heritage: her father is Cambodian and her mother Puerto Rican.
“Had a young and promising life cut short by armed men who were aimlessly shooting at a target with no regard for anyone else,” the police said on Wednesday. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark at the scene of the shooting.
The minor was fatally shot in the abdomen, police said, releasing a video of the shooting. After being injured, Tay He staggered into the beauty salon in shock and bleeding. She was rushed to Lincoln Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.