NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Family and friends are mourning the death of a high school basketball star who was shot and killed in Harlem.
Witnesses said 18-year-old Tayshana Murphy was trying to outrun the shooter in a hallway on the fourth floor of her building when she was killed. Police said the shooting may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Police said they found Murphy with a gunshot wound to the head around 4:14 a.m. Sunday at the Grant Houses. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Candles and heartfelt messages are now part of a makeshift memorial outside the building.
On Monday night there was a celebration of life in front of the shrine, featuring words of remembrance and the picture of Murphy just as her friends knew her — smiling and happy.
“Best friend, best friend, my everything, my everything. We was just talking,” friend Sharay Harris told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
“It’s horrible. That was an 18-year-old girl who had a future. It’s horrible, I feel sorry,” added friend Jasmine Fletcher.
Community activists are outraged as another memorial has been set up for a teen taken by gun violence, at the hands of a shooter, who still hasn’t been caught. The NYPD told 1010 WINS they are not questioning anyone in connection with the shooting and are still seeking witnesses.
“I know that they’re cowering right now in some adult’s house, cowering right now in some adult’s house, and that needs to stop. They need to be flushed out,” Harlem activist Rev. Vernon Williams said.
Witnesses said Murphy went outside to check on her brother and that there might have been a fight, but witnesses claim she was not involved. CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano spoke to Murphy’s cousin, who claimed a family member witnessed the shooting.
“He heard her say ‘I don’t have nothing to do with this, I’m not part of that’ and they was like ‘we don’t care.’ They shot her three times,” the cousin said.
“This might be one loss, but I mean, it’s a loss for a whole another generation — it’s affecting a lot of people,” Taylon Murphy, the victim’s father, told Mercogliano. “I mean she was just a beautiful person.”
1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan Speaks With Murphy’s Coach
She was a senior at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers. Murphy, known as “chicken” at home and on the court, was also considered one of the top girls basketball players in the city and was ranked as the 16th best point guard in the nation for her class by ESPN.
“She was very much liked by the other players on the team and the other students in the school and she was very much respected. She was a leader,” said her coach Ed Grezinsky. “Very senseless because she had everything to live for. She was a great kid.”
Grezinsky said she already had offers from colleges around the country that were interested in her. Her dream was to go to college, get into the WNBA and get her mother out of the projects.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited the school on Monday. A spokeswoman for Walcott said grief counselors were also at the school.
“He took something away from us that was so valuable, so precious and she didn’t even have anything to do with anything,” Murphy’s father said. “It was just senseless.”
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