NY corrections officer charged with murdering teen in shooting linked to TikTok trend

An off-duty New York City corrections officer was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a Bronx teenager. 

The shooting has been linked with a popular TikTok trend that encourages hooligans to harass strangers with water pellet guns, NBC reported.

Charged with murder

The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, which represents defendant Dion Middleton, said he feared for his life when he felt something hit his back around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Middleton, 45, allegedly fired one shot into a car in which the victim, 18-year-old Raymond Chaluisant, was riding. Chaluisant was struck in the face and later died of his injuries. Middleton allegedly left the scene of the shooting and went to work later that morning, where he was arrested.

He was suspended without pay and charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon. His bail was set at $1 million.

“These very serious charges are in no way a reflection of the officers who work to keep our city safe every day,” Louis Molina, commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, said in a statement.

“This officer will be immediately suspended without pay, and if the charges are true he will face the full consequences of the law and be terminated.”

TikTok connection?

New York attorney general Letitia James promised a “thorough and transparent investigation.” The victim’s family said that Chaluisant was having a neighborhood play fight when he was killed.

“They were playing with water guns. Somebody killed them,” the victim’s mother said.

Police found a toy bead blaster gun in Chaluisant’s car. NYPD issued a warning that water guns are illegal in the city.

“Bead Blasters shoot gel water beads propelled by a spring-loaded air pump, making them an air rifle. Air rifles are a violation in NYC & are unlawful to possess,” NYPD tweeted. “Violators found in possession of these will be issued a criminal summons & the weapon will be confiscated.”

The so-called “Orbeez challenge” encourages young people to fire water pellets at strangers, often from inside of a passing car, for the amusement of TikTok users. A man with a water pellet gun was charged this weekend with attempted assault for targeting an NYPD cop.

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