16-Year Old Boy Shot and Killed on Columbia Street (Updated 12:29 p.m.)

A fight last night on Columbia Street led to the murder of a 16-year old boy.  WCBS reports police were called to Columbia and Rivington streets, near the Baruch Houses, at around 9 p.m.  They found the victim, Raphael Sadonte Ward, with a gunshot to the chest.

Ward was rushed to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was declared dead. This morning police are searching for a suspect or suspects.

Neighborhood sources tell us Ward was involved in a long-running dispute with other groups from the Lower East Side.  Earlier in the evening, there was apparently a fist fight that later escalated when at least one of those involved returned to the scene with a gun.

More to come…

UPDATE 12:06 p.m. The Post reports that Ward ran into a deli after being shot.  Before collapsing, he said a group had approached him earlier, saying they wanted his jacket.  Ward lived in the Baruch Houses.

UPDATE 12:29 p.m. Here’s a statement from State Senator Daniel Squadron about last night’s shooting:

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Raphael Ward. No parent should ever have to face the unspeakable tragedy of losing a child. We must continue to work together as a community to fight the scourge of gun violence and make our homes and our streets safer for our families. From stronger gun laws to improved safety at NYCHA developments, we are reminded far too often that the time to act is now.