By Jeff Mays and Shayna Jacobs
HARLEM — A 16-year-old boy shot in the shoulder is the latest victim in a rivalry blamed for the killing of basketball star Tayshana Murphy, sources said.
The boy was hurt on Oct. 11 at Amsterdam Avenue and West 129th Street. Sources said police are treating it as a retaliation attack for the death of Murphy, 18, who was shot last month.
Her death has been blamed on an ongoing beef between the Manhattanville and Grant houses.
The concern was seen at a hearing at Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday. A dozen additional court officers lined the courtroom walls as Murphy's murder suspects, Tyshawn Brockington, 21, and Robert Cartagena, 20, appeared and pleaded not guilty.
The pair was captured Sept. 21 in Columbia, S.C.
The additional officers kept a close watch on the people seated in the court gallery as Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber issued a warning for calm.
But when words were exchanged in court Tuesday between supporters of Murphy and those for Brockington and Cartagena, it was the slain girl's father, Taylonn Murphy, who called for peace.
"It takes more strength to have that compassion than to go out and react," Murphy said outside of the courthouse.
Murphy lived in the Grant Houses. Her suspected killers lived in the Manhattanville Houses.
Last week's victim may have been a member of "3 Stacks," the neighborhood crew based in Grant Houses, according to sources. After the shooting, the suspect ran into a building at Manhattanville Houses.
Police have identified a suspect and are searching for him, sources said. He is believed to be a member of "Step it Up," the Manhattanville youth crew. The victim was transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
"This is kids retaliating about what happened to Chicken," a source, who asked not to be named, said using Tayshana Murphy's nickname.
Police believe Murphy's shooting may have been in retaliation for Cartagena being attacked a day before the shooting. Some of Murphy's family members had said her brother was caught up in that dispute, but it is a charge other family members deny.
They say neither Murphy, a Murry Bergtraum High School senior who was one of the top-ranked point guards in the country, nor her brother, known on the streets as "Bam Bam," was involved in any dispute.
Still, residents of both Manhattanville and Grant Houses, many who declined to give their names, said tensions were running high between the two complexes in the days before the shooting. The dispute between has been going on for years, and is at least partially related to a territorial dispute over the sale of drugs, police say.
Cartagena said the shooting was a dispute between a crew from Abraham Lincoln projects and Grant Houses, according to his statements to police released by prosecutors.
"At the Grant Houses there are about 50 individuals from 15 to 25 years old that call each other 3 Stacks," Cartagena told investigators.
He said that the crew from Lincoln attempted to jump him in a dispute over a girl, adding that the Lincoln crew "showed up at the Grant Houses and started to argue with people from the Grant Houses and then shot one person from Grant. I don't know who the shooter is and do not know the identity of the victim," Cartagena said in the documents.
A third suspect, Terique Collins, 24, a Manhattanville Houses resident is charged with passing a gun to the two murder suspects before the shooting.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said after Murphy's shooting that surveillance video shows Brockington and Cartagena at the crime scene armed with guns in their waistbands.
Tayshana Murphy yelled "I am not with them," as she ran into 3170 Broadway at 3:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, witnesses said.
"I don't give a f--k," one of the accused shooters allegedly replied before shooting Murphy three times.
Area activists have called for an end to the back and forth violence.
"This has got to stop. The cycle of violence, the cycle of kids killing kids has to stop," said Abdul Kareem Muhammad of the Circle of Brothers. "We have a responsibility to make sure our kids grow up in a safe peaceful environment."
But despite the death of his daughter, who told everyone that she wanted to make it to the WNBA so that she could move her family out of the projects, Murphy's father said he's leading by example in hopes that the cycle of community violence that claimed his daughter's life will stop.
Rather than expressing anger at the accused killers, he feels sorry for them and their families who are also suffering a loss.
"It's a tragedy all across the board," said Murphy.