Now, residents are calling for charges to be brought against the onlookers who watched and videotaped the brawl that resulted in the young Black teen’s death, AtlantaBlackStar.com reports.
“They should charge everyone as an accessory for just standing there and recording this tragedy,” a woman named Tasha told Atlanta Black Star. “Jesus, this is so sad. What has this world come to?”
Another woman named Ida also spoke to Atlanta Black Star and added, “It’s a damn shame that a video is more important than helping to save the life of someone who’s being assaulted and killed. This poor kid. Lord have mercy! My heart goes out to this mother and family members.”
Investigators believe at least 60 teens witnessed the brawl that took place Monday (Sept. 16) in front of a pizzeria in a strip mall parking lot in Oceanside, a Long Island community about 30 miles east of Manhattan, authorities said. Some recorded the incident on their cellphones and posted it on social media, NBC reports.
“Kids stood here and didn’t help Khaseen,” Nassau County Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick told reporters, according to NBC. “They’d rather video. They videoed his death instead of helping him.”
Tyler Flach, an 18-year-old Nassau Community College student and aspiring rapper, who is white, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Morris and was arrested Wednesday (Sept. 18), Newsday reports.
“We’re also looking at the possibility of other subjects being charged,” Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder told reporters, according to Newsday.
He also added the Nassau Police received seven 911 calls with the first at 3:46 p.m. However, very few in the large crowd of students that watched helped Morris as he lay bleeding on the ground. Instead, they held up their phones to catch every moment of the action for social media posting later.
“The time to come forward is now, not till after the fact that you’ve been arrested,” Ryder added. “We have a community that’s outraged by the death of this young man. … There’s video evidence that is out there. We’d like if you have it to come forward and give it to us.”
Oceanside High Schoolers typically congregate at the strip mall after school, but this time several students went to watch the “pre-arranged” fight, which was sparked by rumors that Morris was dating an ex-girlfriend of one of Flach’s friends, Newsday reports.
Morris, who was a senior at the high school, was killed over a girl “and the perception of who she might be dating or who she might be hanging with,” Fitzpatrick told reporters, according to NBC.
The girl, whose name has not been released, had broken up with Flach’s friend about two weeks before and reportedly used Morris, who had walked her home from a party, to make her ex-boyfriend jealous, according to Newsday.
According to his family, Morris texted the girl’s ex-boyfriend to reassure him that he wasn’t dating her and only walked her home from the party at her request. Still, he went to the strip mall knowing the ex-boyfriend wanted to fight him, Newsday reports.
Morris died at 11:55 p.m. at South Nassau Community Hospital after suffering a fatal stab wound to his chest. His friend, a 17-year-old boy whose name has not been released, suffered a broken arm and swelling to his head, police said.
Police Det. Lt. Fitzpatrick told reporters, according to CBS, “If you are not a part and parcel of [the] murder of Khaseen Morris, now is the time to get in touch with us and let us know who did this and why.”
“We can’t sit idly by as 16-year-olds expire and bleed out on our streets here in Nassau County,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas told Newsday. “So please, give us the information so that we can continue this investigation to ensure that justice is done for Khaseen and his family.”
On Thursday (Sept. 19), during Flach’s arraignment, Keyanna Morris, the victim’s oldest sister, said she was disgusted when the accused’s attorney, Edward Sapone, painted the picture of Morris as someone linked to the Bloods street gang, Newsday reports.
“I felt sick to my stomach that he would try to paint this angel as a gang member,” she told Newsday. “It hurt. It just hurt to think this person would create this lie. It’s disgusting.”
Keyanna continued defending her brother’s name and described him as being all about “peace and love,” which were the words adorned on the bracelets he wore. She added that her brother loved loud hair colors and planned to dye his dreadlocks purple for his 17th birthday next month, Newsday reports.
“I refuse to let the world think that is true,” she told Newsday. “Peace and love -- that’s all he was about. … Khaseen had no criminal record whatsoever. That’s what they should do -- they should compare the criminal records of Tyler Flach and Khaseen Morris.”
Flach has two pending criminal charges from previous incidences, including a road-rage incident that took place on May 23, followed by a Sept. 8 arrest in Albany County on a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, authorities said.
Flach is currently being held at the Nassau County jail without bail. He pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge in the killing of Morris.
Sapone told reporters Thursday: “At the appropriate time, we will release vital information about what happened that’s not captured on video and that completely changes this case. Until then, we ask the community to reserve judgment and pray for those who are suffering.”
(Photo: Nassau County Police)