A gunman fatally shot a Canarsie teen while he was leaving his Midwood high school on Thursday afternoon.
Officers from the 70th Precinct responded to the scene at around 2:43 pm and found 17-year-old Devonte Lewis of Shore Parkway with a gunshot wound near the entrance to Urban Dove Charter School on E. 21st Street near Avenue K.
EMS units rushed Lewis to Kings County Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead a short time later.
Witnesses claim to have seen two Black men fleeing the location shortly after the shots rang out, according to officials, who say the suspects had attempted to flee inside a BMW sedan, but abandoned their ride at the scene.
Detectives have yet to obtain a possible motive for the shooting. No arrests have been made thus far, in the ongoing investigation.
The school — which services almost entirely students of color that have failed the ninth grade and are at risk of dropping out — is still new to the area. It has been a source of controversy since 2019, when Urban Dove first announced it would lease space within the East Midwood Jewish Center, with predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighbors bemoaning the arrival of the school’s predominantly Black, at-risk teens, despite members and the center’s board voting overwhelmingly in favor of the school.
Members have pushed the center to pull out of the lease and find a Jewish school to occupy the space instead.
Are Councilmember Kalman Yeger, a critic of the school’s lease, took to social media to claim that Thursday’s shooting was the first since the school building was erected seven decades ago.
In 70 years since East Midwood Jewish Center built its school building, no student was ever shot there.
A 17-year old student of @UrbanDoveNY was shot at EMJC today. The perpetrators are still loose. Hoping the victim recovers & NYPD catches the attempted murderers. pic.twitter.com/sZHq4xZtrC
— Kalman Yeger ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם (@KalmanYeger) April 29, 2021
In a statement, the Urban Dove’s director expressed dismay at the tragedy, and claimed that they’d “never experienced an event such as this.”
“The Urban Dove community is devastated and heartbroken at the loss of one of our students. This tragic act of violence, perpetrated by individuals from outside our school community, has our entire Urban Dove family in mourning,” said Jai Nanda. “Urban Dove has never experienced an event such as this and we send our thoughts and prayers to our student’s family. Urban Dove is in close communication with NYPD and will cooperate fully to help ensure that these violent criminals are quickly brought to justice.”
Additional reporting by Ben Verde