Hours after New York City Police say he threw his 4-year-old brother Shimron off the roof of a 7-story apartment building and to his death, Shawn Smith had a message for reporters.
“I’ve finally become a criminal,” the man, 20, said outside the NYPD’s 70th precinct, according to The New York Daily News.
It was early Saturday morning when Shawn is accused of killing his youngest brother in Brooklyn, The New York Post reported. Identified only by her first name, neighbor Tzipporah says it was shortly before 3 a.m. when she heard a loud noise.
It startled her in the middle of the night, Tzipporah said, and she later made a grisly discovery about the sound, The New York Post reported.
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“All the sudden, I heard a boom,” she told The New York Post. “I didn’t know what was happening. And then this morning there were [police] everywhere.
“I didn’t connect the memory until now,” she continued. “It’s terrifying.”
Police say that was the sound of Shimron colliding with the ground below after Shawn, who has schizophrenia, threw him off a roof, according to CBS New York. He is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of the young boy after he confessed to police.
Police say Shawn went up to officers after throwing his brother to the ground — and said “I need to tell you something” before leading them to the boy’s body. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office ruled that the 4-year-old died from “multiple blunt force injuries,” per The New York Daily News. Police ruled the death a homicide after they found the boy’s lifeless body lying near trash bags.
For Donna Hayward, a resident of the area, it’s hard to stomach the idea of a young child being killed by a family member.
“I have a little one myself. I can’t fathom somebody taking my child and throwing him off the roof like that,” Hayward told CBS New York.. “It tears me apart. It hurts me to the core to even hear it.”
And John Okoh, who lives in the same building as the Smith family, called the killing “very inhuman.”
“They ought to have controlled the person who is sick,” he said, according to The New York Daily News.
Shimron’s death was especially hard news for his mother, family friend Amily Fergus told The New York Post. Fergus told the newspaper that the mother of six is “screaming” because “she’s got one kid at the precinct and another one dead.”
As an investigation into the harrowing incident continues, local activist Anthony Bedford hopes more attention is put on mental health.
“We have to find the way to mend the brokenness that occurred through this,” he told CBS New York, “but then also find a way to actually continue the conversation on mental health.”