TEEN BYSTANDER SHOT TO DEATH
By Charles Rogers
Police are searching for a man witnesses quoted as saying, "I have to shoot somebody" and then shot an innocent teenage bystander to death on Rockaway Parkway last Sunday afternoon.
Rhameen Edwards, 23, whose home is in California, was cited by police as the suspect in the brutal slaying of Daniel Springer, 17, of East 98 Street. Authorities at the 69th Precinct Detective Squad confirmed this week that Springer was not involved in the fight that led to his death.
According to police sources, the fight took place at about 3:30 p.m. on July 4 on Avenue L near Rockaway Parkway between the boyfriend and ex-boyfriend of a young local woman.
Hearing the commotion from the porch of his home, a block away, the victim ran to see the two men as they engaged in a fistfight, police said.
One of the men — the ex-boyfriend — got into a car with some friends and then returned a few minutes later with one of the friends wielding a gun, according to witnesses’ reports confirmed by local detectives.
Edwards allegedly said he had to shoot "somebody" and began firing at random, at first, although one report noted Springer was trying to get away when he was shot three times as he ran down his driveway and through two backyards in a frantic attempt to escape the shooter. He was shot twice in the buttocks and once in the torso. He was taken to Brookdale Hospital by Emergency Medical Service paramedics and was pronounced dead at Brookdale an hour later, police said.
Sergeant Chris Minoque of the local detective squad said early reports indicated Springer knew the shooter but that was discounted.
"We were angered about that," Minoque said. "There was no reason to presume the suspect and the victim knew each other."
Edwards is described as black, five-foot, ten-inches tall and weighing about 220 pounds. He goes by the nickname of "Radio," police said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the killer. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS or the 69th Precinct Detective Squad at 1-718-257-6215. All calls will be kept strictly confidential.