NEW YORK - A New York City corrections officer has been arrested and charged with fatally shooting an 18-year-old in the Bronx early Thursday morning.
Dion Middleton, 45, is facing charges of murder, manslaughter, and criminal possession of a weapon.
According to the NYPD, police responded to a 9-1-1 call of a man shot near the northeast corner of Grand Concourse and East Tremont in the Mount Hope section.
Upon arrival, police found 18-year-old Raymond Chaluisant, unconscious and unresponsive with a gunshot wound to his face.
Chaluisant was rushed to Saint Barnabas Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
After an investigation, police discovered the original incident location was on the southeast corner of the Cross Bronx Expressway & Morris Avenue, where a single shell casing was found nearby.
Police said a toy gun that shoots water-filled gel beads was found near the shooting scene. It was not clear whether Chaluisant had fired the toy, called a gel blaster or bead blaster. The attorney general's office said Friday that Middleton had shot at a car in which Chaluisant was a passenger.
The police department later tweeted that bead blasters, considered a type of air rifle, are illegal in New York City.
Benny Boscio, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the union that represents Middleton, said in a statement that Middleton fired a single shot after feeling something hit him in the back. He said the officer "felt his life was in immediate danger."
Boscio said toy guns that don’t look like toys "remain an ongoing threat to public safety." He added, "We will provide Officer Middleton with the best possible representation to ensure that his legal rights are protected."
Middleton was arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree murder and first- and second-degree manslaughter before Judge Jeffrey Zimmerman. Bail was set at $1 million.
Louis Molina, the city correction commissioner, said in a statement that Middleton would be suspended without pay, "and if the charges are true, he will face the full consequences of the law and be terminated."