This morning police are still looking for the gunman who took 16-year old Raphael Ward’s life Friday night during a confrontation on Columbia Street. Police believe the suspect is also a teenager, perhaps a boy even younger than Ward.
Police released a description of the gunman: 5-feet-6-inches tall, 120-140 pounds; at the time of the shooting (around 9 p.m.) he was wearing a black wool hat and a ski mask, a black hoodie, a green jacket and blue jeans.
Over the weekend, Ward’s mom, Ali Delgado, stayed in seclusion in the family’s apartment inside the Baruch public housing development. On Wednesday, friends and loved ones will be able to pay their respects at the Provenzano Lanza Funeral Home, 43 2nd Avenue. Viewing hours are 2-5 and 7-9 p.m.
In a story published yesterday, Ward’s cousin, Nae Delgado,told the Wall Street Journal he tried to steer clear of bad influences, and wasn’t interested in the local gangs that are strong influences in all of the neighborhood’s public housing projects:
“He was a good kid… He didn’t cause trouble. I grew up here, this is the first place I ever lived, and we never got into trouble, nothing… He thought that if you couldn’t run by yourself then you weren’t brave.”
But nevertheless it appears that Ward found himself in the middle of a running “beef” with other Lower East Side teens. In a Facebook post Friday night, Ward reportedly wrote, “I’m dead.” Here’s more detail from the Journal story regarding the events that transpired Friday night:
…around 9 p.m., a worried Raphael approached three friends inside John Best Pizza restaurant on Columbia Street near his home, (a) law-enforcement official said. He told them he had just been approached by a group of guys who asked about his coat. Raphael told his friends he believed one of them had a gun, the official said. The four went outside to see the group, the official said. The three friends told police they left Raphael and ran into a nearby deli “to get bottles to use as weapons.” When the three returned, they saw Raphael at the intersection of Rivington and Columbia streets holding a stick, the official said. One witness said he saw a young man raise his hand, and then heard a gunshot. The three ran back into the deli, the official said. Raphael followed and “informs them that he has been shot, and subsequently collapses,” the official said.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has released the following statement about the weekend tragedy
I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Raphael Ward, whose senseless death has brought immense grief to our community. As a father and a grandfather it pains me greatly to see someone taken from us so young. My neighbors on the Lower East Side have suffered far too much from the scourge of gun violence. That is why we held a gun buy back program recently in an effort to remove dangerous weapons from our streets. We will continue to fight for tougher measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to make our neighborhood, particularly our public housing complexes, safer.