State attorney general probing police shooting of teen who allegedly wielded replica gun

Nyah Mway family

(UTICA, N.Y.) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James said her office is launching an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old boy who allegedly pointed a replica handgun at officers during an encounter in Utica.

James’s announcement came a day after hundreds of people attended a community vigil for 13-year-old Nyah Mway, who was killed Friday night.

Citing New York state executive law, James said the Office of Special Investigation, which is part of her office, assesses every incident reported to it where a police officer “may have caused the death of a person by an act or omission.”

The shooting unfolded around 10:18 p.m. Friday when the Utica officers, who were part of the police’s Crime Prevention Unit, conducted a stop of two people as part of an undisclosed police investigation, the Utica Police Department said.

During the stop, the 13-year-old, who was identified as Nyah Mway, allegedly fled from officers who chased him, according to the police. Nyah allegedly pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officers, which prompted one of the officers to fire one shot at the teen, according to investigators.

The Utica Department of Public Safety identified the three officers in a statement as Patrick Husnay, a 6-year veteran of the Utica Police Department, who fired his duty weapon striking the juvenile. Officers Bryce Patterson, a 4-year veteran of the police department, and Andrew Citriniti, who has been on the police force, 2 1/2 -and-a-half years, were also identified as being involved incident. Citriniti previously served with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office.”

The mortally wounded boy was taken to Wynn Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. Investigators uncovered “a replica GLOCK 17 Gen 5 handgun with a detachable magazine” following the shooting, investigators said.

Utica Police Chief Mark Williams told reporters on Saturday the replica firearm appeared to be a pellet gun. James said in her statement Sunday that offiers recovered a “BB gun” at the scene.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased juvenile, as well as our officers involved in this incident,” the Utica Police Department said in a statement.

Authorities released footage of the incident from Officer Patterson’s body camera.

“As will be illustrated in the body worn camera (BWC) footage … when the officers asked and went to pat frisk Nyah Mway, he immediately fled on foot. While fleeing he produced a replica GLOCK pellet gun from the front of his body, and during the 51 and 53 second mark on PO Patterson’s BWC, points the weapon directly at PO Patterson and the other officers,” police said in their statement detailing the incident.

“As in any Officer Involved Shooting investigation it is within the purview of the NYS Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigations to determine whether the shooting violated any state laws; however, we felt it prudent to ensure the entirety of the evidence we have available at this time is shared publicly – keeping with our commitment to transparency,” police continued in their statement.

The news conference held by Williams and Utica Mayor Michael P. Galime was disrupted multiple times by members of the public shouting at them.

Lay Htoo, Nyah’s uncle, told ABC News he saw the video and that he and his family were depressed and saddened.

“They make me feel very, very sad. You know, seeing one [of] my nephews [killed],” Htoo told ABC News of the images.

Htoo said his family was originally from Myanmar and his nephew moved to Utica eight years ago. Nyah had recently graduated from middle school, according to Htoo.

“My nephew is a very good kid. He’s never done this before,” Htoo said.

Hundreds of people filled the 900 block of Shaw Street for a community vigil for Mway on Saturday night, just about 24 hours after he was shot and killed. Several people spoke at the vigil, including members of the Mway’s family and other prominent members of the community.

Williams said the three officers involved in the incident were placed on paid administrative leave as the New York Attorney General’s Office conducts its investigation into the incident.

In addition to the AG’s probe, the Utica Police Department will be conducting its own investigation into the shooting.

“Additionally, we will work closely and openly with the City of Utica Public Safety Advisory Committee. We value their mission and want to ensure through multiple facets the community is fully informed of the facts of this incident,” the police said in a statement.

Williams said police would be releasing more information and details to the public in the coming days including the body camera footage from the incident.

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