16-year-old Laquan Nelson was walking with a cousin near his home on Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill on Monday when he got into an altercation with another group of teens. Words were exchanged, and then shots were fired—LaQuan was shot in the torso, just 100 yards from the 88th Precinct Station House. With the help of his cousin, he staggered to the station and collapsed against the wall, shortly before 6 p.m. Within the hour he was pronounced DOA at Brooklyn Hospital.
So far, the perpetrator's motive remains unclear and no arrests have been made. LaQuan lived with his 64-year-old cousin Shirley Nelson, who he called "Grandma," in the Lafayette Gardens, a public housing complex. He loved basketball, and though his name was listed in a law enforcement database of gang members, one 16-year-old acquaintance tells the Times he was not a gang member, although "he hangs out with the people that had something to do with it."
The Daily News reports that LaQuan had two arrests on his record, including one for assault. One neighbor insists, "He was not a problematic kid. He basically was a good boy. Unless his friends went out, he wasn't going outside." Nelson, in fact, did not believe the news that LaQuan was shot, because she thought he was home. "I said, ‘No he’s in his room.’ And I looked in the room, and he was gone," Nelson tells the Times.
Nelson, who called LaQuan "Popcorn" because of the tight curls that covered his head when he was a child, also tells the Times, "He would say, ‘Grandma: I’m going to get you out of the projects."
An NYPD spokesman said this morning that no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.