New York (New York Daily News) – They wanted to see the man who took their daughter
away from them.
The father, stepmother and grandfather of 16-year-old Shemel Mercurius stood in stony silence outside the 67th Precinct stationhouse in Brooklyn Friday morning as they watched cops haul Taariq Stephens — the man accused of killing the beloved teen — to court.
“You see the pictures on the TV … in articles on your phone,” the teen’s grandfather Harold Mercurius said. “I just wanted to (see him for myself).”
Mercurius’ father Dexter Mercurius wanted to see if he recognized his daughter’s alleged killer.
“I know this person used to live right in the neighborhood, and I wanted to see if I knew this guy – but honestly, I never knew this guy,” he said. “My daughter’s 16 and he’s 24. I would like to know why he did this. It’s still hard for me right now.”
Stephens said nothing as detectives escorted him to an unmarked squad car that took him to central booking.
Cops did not disclose a motive for the killing, but the pair allegedly knew one another. The high-powered .40-caliber submachine gun Stephens used in the shooting was not recovered, sources said. Stephens turned himself in Thursday after his lawyer arranged the surrender with police. He was charged with murder and weapons possession.
The 24-year-old is accused of shooting Mercurius with the Kel-Tec submachine gun after forcing his way into her Brooklyn Ave. home Tuesday.
The teen was shot in both arms, with one of the bullets going through her right arm into her chest.
With her dying breath, Mercurius gave cops her alleged killer’s first name, sources said. Cops then tracked down a teenage girl seen on a surveillance video with Stephens moments before the shooting.
Investigators determined that the teen was not involved in the killing, officials said.
Stephens, wearing a white T-shirt, dark blue jeans and holding a red and black baseball cap, was ordered held without bail during his arraignment on murder and weapons charges at Brooklyn Criminal Court Friday afternoon.
“The parties are acquaintances,” Assistant District Attorney Wilfredo Cotto said. “We believe there (are) witnesses.”
Stephens has six previous arrests — most recently on March 5 when he was spotted driving around Bedford-Stuyvesant with an open bottle of Hennessy Cognac, officials said. He was also arrested for possession of an illegal knife in 2007. He’s due back in court June 8.
Mercurius’ father said he was thankful for the police who investigated the killing — and that Stephens had enough sense to surrender.
“Thank God for this guy turning himself in,” the dad said. “God will take it from here.”
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