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16-Year-Old Boy Fatally Shot in the Head in East Harlem, Police Say

By  Ellen  Moynihan and Ben Fractenberg | March 25, 2016 6:36pm | Updated on March 28, 2016 7:53am

 Juwan Tavarez, 16, was fatally shot in East Harlem Friday, police said.
Juwan Tavarez, 16, was fatally shot in East Harlem Friday, police said.
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DNAinfo/Ellen Moynihan and NYPD

MANHATTAN — A 16-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed as part of an ongoing dispute among crews in East Harlem on Friday afternoon, according to officials.

Juwan Tavarez was shot outside the Jefferson Houses at 2070 Third Ave., near 115th Street, about 4:48 p.m., an FDNY spokesman said. 

Tavarez was walking down Third Avenue with a group of friends from the Wagner Houses when they stopped to speak with some girls sitting outside the Jefferson Houses. Then shots rang out. 

"You have a singular shooter who fires four times from inside Jefferson Houses under a scaffolding," Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said at an unrelated press conference Monday. "We do not believe he was specifically targeted, rather than the whole group was."

The shooter was also partially obscured by white construction mesh covering the scaffolding, Boyce added. 

"We sent Crime Stoppers out all weekend long trying to get some information. The public is responding," the chief said. "We have some definitely very strong leads and all of which are describing this possible gang issue with them."

Tavarez, who lives nearby on First Avenue, was taken to Harlem Hospital where he died Sunday, police said.

Carmen, who has lived in Jefferson Houses for 15 years said she was shocked the shooting happened on a religious holiday.

"It's crazy! People shooting today on God's day," she said. "I heard it from my window, four shots."

Olga Gines, 69, said she often walks around the area at night and does not generally feel unsafe.

"In the summer there's a lot of shooting, but not now," said Gines, a social worker. "Same thing that happens here happens in Brooklyn, in Queens." 

But Gines added that she was held up in one of the Jefferson Houses buildings about 10 years ago. "You have to be careful, very careful walking into the building."

There were no arrests as of Monday morning, an NYPD spokesman said, and the investigation is ongoing.

Police are offering $2,500 for information about the shooting.