NYPD releases footage of suspects wanted in ‘mind-boggling’ fatal shooting of teen girl Claudia Quaatey

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

NYPD releases footage of suspects wanted in ‘mind-boggling’ fatal shooting of teen girl Claudia Quaatey​

Haley Brown and
Amanda Woods

May 24, 2023 1:28pm

The NYPD is looking for three suspects in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl outside a Queens playground this month — as the teenager’s grieving family searches for answers in the “mind-boggling” slaying.
Police released surveillance footage early Wednesday showing the three hoodie-and-face mask-wearing males walking on a street.
They’re wanted in the shooting of Claudia Quaatey, who was struck in the head the evening of May 10 as she sat in an SUV outside Locust Manor Park in St. Albans.
The teen spent time on life support before dying of her grave injuries, her aunt, Benita Bortey, told The Post on Tuesday
Law enforcement sources have said that three gunmen fired off “multiple” 9mm rounds during an apparent gang-related dispute — before running off and remaining on the loose.
Quaatey had just settled a beef with another group of girls when the shots rang out, police have said. But cops are still probing if the earlier scuffle had anything to do with the shooting.
Bortey told The Post Tuesday that she doesn’t know what led to the shooting, and refrained from speculating.

A grab from surveillance footage shows the three suspects in the fatal shooting. This trio, seen wearing hoodies and face masks, is being sought in connection to the deadly St. Albans shooting of Claudia Quaatey.NYPD
“We are still looking for answers,” she said. “The NYPD is working diligently to answer some questions and give us some closure.”

Bortey added about her niece: “We’ve never known her to be involved in anything like this, so this is mind boggling. So we’re definitely looking to the NYPD for answers.”

Police are seen at the scene of the shooting, outside Locust Manor Park. Authorities are still probing the motive for the shooting that killed 16-year-old Claudia Quaatey.Gregory P. Mango
She noted that people were in the park at the time of the shooting — and that someone must have information that could help catch the killer.

“It’s just sad that we live in a world where this kind of violence can happen and people see something and they don’t talk,” she said. “I don’t understand how someone can be slain and people can have information and not give it.”

A day after the shooting, the teen’s father, Albert Quaatey, 65, told The Post his daughter dreamed of becoming a nurse and liked to braid hair for her friends.

She was on her way to do just that when she was shot while sitting in a Hyundai SUV, which was parked near the park and outside PS 015 Jackie Robinson elementary school, her dad said.

“Usually I tell her, school days, I don’t want her going out,” her father said. “It wasn’t late, but still. They always called me old-school, but there are these kinds of problems. Too many younger people are being killed. I tried, but how much can you do?”

Claudia “was a sophomore at Queens High School of Teaching and a loved member of the Jamaica Queens Community,” her aunt posted on a GoFundMe page, aimed at raising money to cover the slain teen’s funeral, medical and other expenses.

A family photo of Claudia Quaatey, 16.Quaatey was an aspiring nurse who also enjoyed braiding her friends’ hair, according to her family.Courtesy of family
She has four brothers and one sister – and is the second youngest of her siblings, according to Bortey.

“Our hearts have been ripped out of our chests,” she said. “The family is not doing well at all. Claudia’s passing has left a huge chasm in everyone and that void can never be filled.”

A family photo of Claudia Quaatey, 16.Claudia was the second-youngest of six siblings.Courtesy of family
Bortey, who is the sister of Claudia’s mother, said the grieving mom is “broke.”

“She’s not doing well. She’s devastated. She’s broke beyond repair,” Bortey said of her sister.

“I can’t begin to tell you what [Claudia] means to everyone,” she said. “She’s just that girl. She’s just that girl that you want to be with. She’s not the type of girl that’s always out. She is very focused. She doesn’t go out. If she’s out she’s out with family. This is just mind-boggling.”

Claudia “wanted to be a nurse simply because she wanted to heal people,” her aunt said.

A bullet hole is seen in the Hyundai SUV where Claudia was sitting when she was shot.The slain teen’s aunt called the fatal shooting “mind-boggling.”WABC-TV
“She’s a great kid,” Bortey said. “Even in school she’s smart. She had a vision for the future and it was a beautiful one too. And it’s sad that this could happen to her.”

Police said three gunmen ran off after the shooting, heading west on 122nd Avenue, and are looking for the public’s help in identifying the trio.

One of the males is described as having a dark complexion and a slim build, standing around 5-foot-11 or 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a white mask, black and gray hooded sweatshirt, gray sweatpants, and white sneakers.

Another suspect had a light complexion and a slim build, and is described as around 5-foot-10. He was last seen wearing a black mask, gray hooded sweatshirt, dark colored sweatpants, and red sneakers.

The third man being sought has a medium complexion and a medium build, and is described as about 5-foot-6.

He was last seen wearing a black mask, navy hooded sweatshirt, black pants, and black and white sneakers.

In a separate recent case, Jamoure Harrell, 13, was shot in the head on a Staten Island playground Friday and later succumbed to his injuries, police said Tuesday.

Harrell was an innocent bystander who got caught in a turf war between rival gangs, cops said. A 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with murder in that case, according to police.

“We’re not a violent people,” Bortey said of the city’s ongoing violence involving teens. “It just breaks our hearts because it’s too much and our children are dying unnecessarily. Something has to be done. The politicians we put in office need to be able to do something. When is anyone going to wake up and say enough is enough?”

“Hear the cries of the families out here who have to lay their families to rest because of the senseless gun violence,” she said. “The gun laws should be tougher. Why should young children have access to guns?”