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2 teenagers killed in an officer-involved shooting in DeWitt

The vehicle in question was under suspicion of its involvement in two burglaries that occurred overnight, as stated by the sheriff.



The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of teens killed in deputy-involved shooting in Syracuse.

Dhal Pothwi Apet was 17, Lueth Mo was 15.

Syracuse City School District Superintendent Anthony Davis confirmed with CNY Central on Thursday that the two teenagers attended Henniger High School and provided the following statement.

As a Superintendent, as a father, and as a citizen of the City of Syracuse, I am deeply saddened by the events that unfolded this week. Once again, two young people have lost their lives. I can’t speak to any details relating to this matter as it is an ongoing investigation, but we will continue to support our students, families, schools, and the community throughout this tragedy. We will be mindful to make sure that we’re paying close attention to the needs of all involved. In addition to providing social-emotional supports for our students and schools, we will also be partnering with local agencies to provide support in the community. I extend my deepest condolences to these young people’s loved ones and all who are impacted by this tragedy.

On Wednesday morning, two teenagers were fatally shot by a deputy from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office when the stolen vehicle they were occupants in came dangerously close to running over the deputy, Sheriff Toby Shelley reported.

According to an insider with knowledge of the investigation, the two individuals who lost their lives were both 15 years old.

The office of the New York State Attorney General confirms first to Channel3 NOW it has opened a formal investigation into the death of two teenagers who were shot this morning by an Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputy. The deputy claimed it was act of self-defense after an attempt to run him over.

At an afternoon press conference, Sheriff Shelley revealed that the two teenagers were fatally shot by a lone deputy who discharged their weapon at the moving vehicle in the vicinity of the Midler Meadows mobile home park in DeWitt.

The vehicle in question was under suspicion of its involvement in two burglaries that occurred overnight, as stated by the sheriff.

The deputy was unaccompanied when the operator of the stolen vehicle attempted to strike him near the mobile home park on North Midler Avenue, according to Sheriff Shelley. The two teenagers were fatally shot by the lone deputy, who discharged three rounds into the vehicle, as described by Sheriff Shelley.

He also referenced a video from a witness, which, he asserted, illustrated that the deputy had insufficient time to evade the oncoming vehicle.

The witness’s video has not been released to the public. The deputy involved, whose identity has not been disclosed, had a body camera, but it was not activated during the shooting, as Sheriff Shelley explained that there was insufficient time for the deputy to activate it.

Sheriff Shelley emphasized that the deputy had no avenues for escape and that the entire incident unfolded in a matter of seconds, leaving him with no viable options.

The deputy remained unharmed during the incident, according to the sheriff. The sequence of events commenced at approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday when two vehicles were reported stolen from the vicinity of James Street and Hixon Avenue in Syracuse, as detailed by Sheriff Shelley.

These vehicles included a Kia and a Hyundai.

The stolen vehicles were linked to a burglary at a smoke shop in the city of Oneida that occurred at 4 a.m., as stated by the sheriff. Subsequently, on Wednesday morning, these same vehicles were observed at another burglary, this time at a smoke shop located on East Molloy Road in DeWitt, according to Sheriff Shelley.

The incident was reported at the Prince Smoke Shop situated at 176 E. Molloy Rd, as relayed by a source who had participated in a briefing regarding the incident.”

The deputy who later discharged their weapon was actively investigating the burglary on East Molloy Road when a 911 call was received, reporting unusual activity at the Midler Meadows mobile home park, Sheriff Shelley noted.

At 6:18 a.m., the caller reported the presence of three or four males in dark attire transferring items between a sedan and a dark-colored minivan at the mobile home park. In response to this information, the deputy proceeded to the mobile home park, being aware that the described vehicles aligned with the ones captured on video from the smoke shop burglary, as conveyed by Sheriff Shelley.

Shortly after the deputy’s arrival, Sheriff Shelley recounted that one of the vehicles associated with the suspects made an attempt to strike the deputy. In response, the deputy drew his firearm and discharged it three times, as reported by the sheriff.

Both suspect vehicles subsequently fled the scene, with one of them remaining unaccounted for. The other vehicle was discovered not far from the initial car burglaries, where it crashed prior to 7 a.m. on Mooney Avenue in Eastwood, Sheriff Shelley stated. At the crash site, one occupant was found deceased, while another was in critical condition, according to the sheriff. Tragically, despite life-saving efforts by a deputy, the second occupant succumbed to their injuries shortly afterward.

A third individual who was in the same vehicle as the deceased individuals remains unaccounted for. Sheriff Shelley did not disclose the ages of the two deceased teenagers, explaining that their identities had yet to be officially confirmed. However, he mentioned that law enforcement had been in contact with the families of the deceased.

Sheriff Shelley noted that his department had reached out to the county district attorney and the state Attorney General’s Office. The latter is responsible for examining cases of fatalities resulting from police actions throughout New York. The Attorney General’s Office verified on Wednesday afternoon that it had initiated a “preliminary assessment” of the incident. In April 2021, the state mandated the office to investigate all fatal incidents involving law enforcement officers.