NYPD: Bronx teen fatally shot leaving school — 2nd teen death within a week

A Bronx teenager was shot and killed on the way home from school Thursday afternoon– becoming the second teen to die of gun violence in New York City in the span of a week.

Laquai Dash, 17, was shot in the neck around 4:15 p.m. just moments after leaving Legacy College Prep Charter High School in Melrose, according to police and family members. He was barely half a block from the school’s campus on Cauldwell Avenue.

First responders took Dash to NYC Health and Hospitals/Lincoln, where he was pronounced dead.

Dash, who lived with his grandmother and his 12-year-old sister about a mile south of the school, was on track to graduate this year and head off to SUNY Buffalo, his family said.

The killing comes amid a spate of high-profile crimes that have kicked off 2024 in New York City, including three fatal shootings within the city’s subway system – despite the fact that shootings and murders continue to decline citywide, according to data from the NYPD.

“He was a very respectable child. I had no problems with him,” said Dash’s grandmother, Vivian Coward, in a phone interview Friday. “He was doing what he needed to do.”

She said he was also preparing to head to Spain at the end of March on a school trip.

Nia Sky Dash, 12, told Gothamist with her grandmother’s permission that her brother loved sports and music and wanted to be a business owner someday.

“He was just really into finance and stuff like that,” she said adding she was close with her older brother.

“We would just watch documentaries together and movies, and we would just talk about life and stuff like that,” she said. “He was just trustworthy and just a really overall kind person.”

Nia Sky said she found out about the shooting through her cousin, who went to school with Dash and witnessed the gunfire.

“She was hysterical. She was just crying and saying that, ‘Oh, ‘Qua got shot,’” Nia Sky said. “From what I know, he was just walking out of school and then somebody just came up and shot him.”

Coward said she heard the shooting was sparked by a fight with some girls and she didn’t think the shooter and Dash knew each other.

Police on Friday said the incident was still under investigation, and they were still working to figure out a motive. NYPD officials said they were looking for one male suspect, but did not immediately release a description.

Dash was killed exactly a week after 13-year-old Troy Gill was gunned down in Brooklyn while walking home from a basketball game at the Barclays Center.

Earlier Thursday, police officers found an unloaded gun in the backpack of an 8-year-old student at P.S. 158 in East New York after he’d allegedly threatened another classmate.

Coward said she feels more security and better after-school programs could help prevent more violence.

“They need to have cops around these schools now,” she said. “They know that these kids are going around these schools with guns. It has to stop.”

This is a developing story and may be updated.

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