Authorities say 13-year-old armed with replica handgun fatally shot by police after chase in upstate New York

Police Friday night fatally shot a 13-year-old boy following a foot chase in a residential neighborhood in the upstate New York city of Utica after the teen displayed what appeared to be a gun, authorities said. Police later determined the teen was carrying a replica handgun. 

Three officers stopped the two teenagers at around 10 p.m. local time Friday as part of an investigation into several recent robberies, Utica police said in a news release Saturday night. While the authorities were questioning the teens, one of them fled on foot, police said. 

As the victim ran, police spotted what “appeared to be a handgun,” Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said in a Saturday morning news conference, during which he was frequently interrupted by outraged community members. One of the officers fired his gun and struck the teen, described as an Asian male. 

“A Utica police officer ultimately discharged his firearm once, striking the male, during a ground struggle,” Williams said.        

The teen, identified as 13-year-old Nyah Mway, was given immediate first aid by officers on scene and was brought to Wynn Hospital, where he died from his wounds, Williams said. 

Following the shooting, according to Williams, officers recovered a pellet gun resembling a Glock 17 handgun with a detachable magazine. 

“This replica handgun was ultimately found to be a pellet gun,” Williams disclosed.

Authorities say 13-year-old armed with replica handgun fatally shot by police after chase in upstate New York
A pellet gun, a replica of a Glock 17, recovered from the scene of a fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy by a police officer in Utica, New York, on June 28, 2024. Police said the boy was carrying the replica handgun while being chased by officers. 

Utica Police Department

The officer who fatally shot Mway was identified as Patrick Husnay, a six-year veteran of the department. Two other officers, Bryce Patterson and Andrew Citriniti, were also involved in the incident, police said.

In their release Saturday night, police said that the three officers were patrolling the area in response to at least two recent robberies “in which the suspects were described as Asian males who brandished a black in color firearm and forcibly demanded and stole property from victims” — the latest of which had occurred Thursday.

The three officers approached the two teens because “they matched the robbery suspects’ descriptions and were in the immediate vicinity of the previous robbery at nearly the same time of day,” police said.  

Police Saturday night also released several minutes of footage from the body cameras of all three officers, along with a photo of the replica handgun which was recovered.

In the footage, the teen identified by police as Mway takes off running from the scene almost immediately after being stopped by the officers. While running, he appears to briefly point what police say was the replica gun at the pursuing officers.

Within about 15 to 20 seconds of when the foot chase started, the footage shows Patterson tackle Mway on a sidewalk, and while the two wrestle on the ground, Husnay approaches them and fires a single shot. 

Separate cell phone video of the incident captured by a neighbor has been obtained by CBS News. Regarding that video, police said in a statement that it was “aware of a video of the incident circulating on social media platforms, which does not portray the incident in its entirety.”

The New York attorney general’s office also announced Saturday night that it has opened an investigation into the shooting. 

Utica police said it is conducting its own investigation. All three officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave.

An interpreter was at the contentious news conference to translate for the victim’s family and community members. At one point, Utica Mayor Michael Galime took the microphone, calling for calm. 

“We understand the weight of this situation and want to ensure that every single piece of this is understood,” Galime said.    

The ethnicity of the victim’s family has not been provided, but Utica has resettled large numbers of refugees in recent years.  According to the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, one of the largest numbers of Asian refugees Utica has resettled are from Burma, including from the Karen ethnic group, as well as other groups. Other Asian refugees include Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodians along with Bosnians, Dominicans and more, the center said. Just over 19% of the once rapidly declining industrial city is now foreign-born, the center said. 

“This tragedy reminds us of the tremendous challenges our community faces, particularly our partners in law enforcement, who tirelessly strive to ensure our streets remain safe,”  Utica City School District interim superintendent Dr. Kathleen Davis said in a statement Saturday.

Utica, a city of about 65,000, is located approximately an hour’s drive from Syracuse.  

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