The teen who was shot to death outside of Brooklyn NYCHA complex on Tuesday night may have slain due to a gang dispute, police said.
According to police sources, 15-year-old Javel Lawton was found with a bullet wound outside of Bayview Houses at the intersection of East 102nd Street and Seaview Avenue in Canarsie at around 9 p.m. on Jan. 2. The youth was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital with a bullet wound to the back where he succumbed to his wounds.
Detectives now believe that Lawton was visiting friends inside the Bayview Houses moments before the deadly shooting occurred.
“He is a former resident of the Bayview Houses and has since moved to Canarsie. He hasn’t lived there in about two years,” Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said. “When he walks out of the building to leave, he is by himself.”
When Lawton left the address, Kenny reported, he was approached by four to five male suspects believed to be affiliated with the street gang known as APES, a subset of the Bloods.
Police said the suspects were decked out in hoods, masks, and gloves. A verbal argument quickly ensued.
“One male from the crowd wearing light blue clothing, which could indicate affiliation with the Crips gang, pulls out a pistol,” Chief Kenny said.
Police said Lawton also allegedly produced a firearm in response where a firefight ensued. The instigator unleashed about five bullets while Lawton only managed to fire once before he was fatally struck.
During the gunplay, police believe Lawton allegedly fired a shot, but missed his target.
Police have yet to confirm if Lawton was affiliated with a gang, or if the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
Investigators are reviewing the teen’s online activities and are interviewing family members, according to Kenny.
No arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the shooting can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.