“I understand that there’s anger in the community, but the way to get answers is not through violence or law-breaking,” said Bloomberg. “We cannot tolerate that, and we will not tolerate that.”
Bouquets of flowers and lit candles formed a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk near the corner where Gray died. Posters were scrawled with messages: “Love you lil bro” and “RIP Waking Angel.”
“Everybody loved him,” said Shawn Burgendy, a friend of Gray’s who had stopped by the memorial. “Never had a problem with him. He was just around a bunch of bad situations.”
Would his friend point a gun at a cop?
“He’s not that type of kid. He’s not a dummy,” Burgendy said. “He wouldn’t just go and pull a gun on the police. Who would pull a gun on a police officer?”
A police officer may use deadly force when he or she has a reasonable fear of serious injury or death, and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has said the shooting appeared to be within those guidelines.
Gray’s death marks the 10th police-involved shooting this year. A weapon was recovered from every one, police said. In 2011, police shot and killed nine suspects and injured 19, the lowest in recent years, according to a police report released last fall.
The 2012 firearms discharge report has not been published.
Kenneth Montgomery, a lawyer for the Gray family, questioned the police department’s account of how the teen died. The family wants to know how the gun was recovered and by whom, he said.
The medical examiner’s office ruled that Gray was hit seven times and had wounds in the front and back of his body, including his shoulder, rib cage, forearm and legs.
Speaking of her son in the present tense, Carol Gray remembered a boy who still had a curfew to abide by at night. A boy who babysat his nieces and nephews regularly and who, for the first time in his life, recently got a bedroom all to himself.
“The past couple of days, the bell hasn’t rung,” she said. “I’m still waiting for him to come home.”
While she doesn’t condone the violent protests, Gray said she wants answers. She wants to know why her son was struck by more than one bullet. And she wants to know why she will have to bury him in the coming days.
This is the second tragedy for the family: Two years ago, her older son was killed in a car accident.
“Now I have to place my younger boy in the same hole,” she said.