Brooklyn community demands investigation into death of Laquan Nelson

Khorri Atkinson | 6/18/2014, 11:12 p.m.
Residents at Lafayette Gardens are demanding an investigation into the death of Laquan Nelson, a 16-year-old youth who was shot ...
Laquan Nelson

Residents at Lafayette Gardens are demanding an investigation into the death of Laquan Nelson, a 16-year-old youth who was shot and killed by an unknown assailant a few yards from the 88th Precinct. They claim that “medical attention was delayed and police stood idly by.”

“The EMS took 25 minutes to reach here. I called them nine times,” said George Garcia, who lives in the community. “I could have taken him to the hospital and [gotten there] faster than the time the EMS took to reach here.”

FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer told the AmNews they received multiple calls for several addresses along Classon Avenue, each reporting a person shot. He said the first call was received at 5:49 p.m., and an ambulance was dispatched to Classon and Dekalb avenues. “An engine company was also dispatched, as callers believed the patient was in cardiac arrest from the injury. The engine company arrived on scene at 5:54 p.m. (three minutes and 58 seconds, to be exact). Engine companies respond to serious medical emergencies. The ambulance arrived at 5:55 p.m. (six-minute response time).”

Dwyer added that the victim was quickly treated and prepared for removal to the nearest hospital emergency room. “The patient was transported to Brooklyn Hospital, arriving at the emergency room at 6:05 p.m.”

The resident also claimed there is a feud between the 88th and 79th precincts. “One part of the block covers the 79th Precinct. Although the shooting happened at the 88th Precinct, the officers said the 79th Precinct should take care of it. That crap should stop. They’re here to protect and serve,” said Garcia.

Nelson, popularly known as “Popcorn,” was walking to his home on Classon Avenue after a basketball game when he was shot in the lower torso. He staggered his way to the 88th Precinct, residents said. He was taken to Brooklyn Hospital and was later pronounced dead. As of late, no arrest has been made.


The Rev. Herbert Daughtry; Nelson’s grandmother Shirley Nelson; and his mother, Monique Nelson

Published reports claimed that Nelson was a gang member, but it was not known if his affiliation was connected to the shooting. Regardless, residents and relatives refuted that claim.

“He was a good kid,” said his grandmother Shirley Nelson. “If he wasn’t over there playing basketball, he would have been at the YMCA. That’s where he was many times. His death is a burden on me.”

The Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a community activist, pastor of the National Leader of the House of the Lord Churches and organizer of a recent rally, said he wants the city to “launch an investigation to determine if the community’s claims are accurate, that the police did nothing and that the EMS was unjustifiably late.”

Community activists and ex-gang members who spoke at a recent rally, which consisted of mostly youths outside the Lafayette Gardens housing complex, urged parents to take more control of their children. They also advised youths to stay positive and contribute something that will uplift their community.

“I lived off prison food for 10 years,” said James McPhatter, an ex-gang member and co-founder of Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, a nonprofit that aims to prevent youths from going down the same path McPhatter did. “When you look inside the prisons, almost everyone is Black, and that’s sad. My family has helped me make a complete change in my life. I’m not with the guns or drugs. I’ve caused pain. I want to give back to my community what I’ve taken from it. I’m here as a changed man.”