4-year-old Shimron Smith died after a fall from the seven-story Brooklyn building where he and his older brother Shawn were residents. According to police reports, the 20-year-old brother was responsible for Shimron’s death, after tossing his brother from the roof of the building.
Authorities reported that Shawn Smith waved a passing police car down and asked to speak with them, as he needed to tell them something. The officers were occupied with another call and directed Shawn to wait, which he did. When the officers were able to address Shawn’s request, he informed him that his brother was hurt. He told them, “I think my brother’s hurt. Take me there and I’ll tell you more.”
When officers arrived at the apartment building on Nostrand Ave. at approximately 3:30 a.m., they found Shimron’s body in the courtyard. The Medical Examiner’s report showed that he had died from “multiple blunt force injuries.”
What police soon found out was that Shawn was mentally ill. Shawn Smith suffers from schizophrenia. Neighbors told police he could regularly be seen walking pointlessly up and down the steps of the building. One neighbor stated, “You can kind of see when a person is off. [Shawn] was a little off, for the most part.”
In contrast, Shimron, according to the same neighbor, was outgoing and bright. “He was a very playful little boy,” the neighbor said. “He’d play outside, riding a bike. Just playing with family members.”
Some residents at the building told police that they had heard “a loud boom” earlier in the evening. During the investigation of the scene, police spoke to a worker at the building. He claimed that Shimron had been thrown from the roof. Surveillance video reviews showed the brothers heading up a flight of stairs to the top floor of the building. The worker stated that while Shimron cannot be seen being tossed from the building, video shows them heading up, and Shimron when he was falling.
Police immediately took Shawn into custody after discovering Shimron’s body. They asked Shawn if he intended to kill Shimron and he said, “Not really.” When they arrived at the 70th Precinct, reporters recounted Shawn saying, “I’ve finally become a criminal!” Shawn is being held on murder charges in the death of his brother. It remains to be seen if his mental illness will affect the case.
John Okoh, a resident in the building said, “It’s very inhuman. Too inhuman. They ought to have controlled the person who is sick.”