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Monday, September 5, 2022 – A New York family is grieving after their teenage daughter was shot dead by her boyfriend’s 15-year-old brother as they sat in a car in Queens, a day before her 18th birthday.
“It just makes no sense,” the victim’s mother Karen O’Brian said Sunday September 4. “It makes me mad. I’m furious. I don’t know how I’m going to function.”
Shantasia O’Brian, 17, a freshman at the College of Staten Island, was picked up by her family last Friday, September 2 so they could celebrate the teen’s birthday at a Bronx seafood.
“I was hugging her and she was hugging me,” said the girl’s grandmother, Joy Gobourne to New York Daily news. “I was crying and she was wiping away my tears, saying, ‘Don’t cry, Grandma. I love you.’”
In addition to being homesick due to being in school, Shantasia had just started dating a boy in the neighborhood.
A few hours before the family was due to leave for dinner, Shantasia texted her mother and asked if she could go to the park with a few friends, but promised she’d be back in time to get ready for the celebration at City Island Lobster House.
Around 2:40 p.m., she climbed into the passenger seat of her boyfriend’s car, where his 15-year-old brother was in the back seat, according to police.
The trio then made their way to 136th Ave. near Brookville Blvd. in Laurelton.
The boyfriend’s brother was playing with a gun, and it went off around 5 p.m. piercing the back of the passenger seat Shantasia was in.
After firing the shot, the brother got out of the car, tossed the gun and got back inside, New York police said.
Karen O’Brian received a call about 12 minutes later from a man, who she presumed was the new boyfriend she had not yet met.
“He said, ‘Shantasia’s been shot’ and then hung up,” O’Brian said.
The frantic mom repeatedly called back until someone finally picked up. This time, it was a woman’s voice, a police officer who responded to the shooting scene outside a house on the residential street.
A Medical team rushed Shantasia to Jamaica Hospital, but she could not be saved.
Police took two people into custody for questioning and ultimately charged the younger brother with manslaughter, weapon possession and tampering with physical evidence. His name was not released by police because he’s a juvenile.
On Sunday, September 4,Shantasia’s family gathered at the home she grew up in, where instead of holding a barbecue or celebration, they cried over her death.
“She’s a smart girl,” O’Brian said. “She has a family who loves her. She’s not around guns.”
“She loved dance so much,” O’Brian said. “It broke her heart when she had surgery. She said, ‘Mom, when can I go back to dancing?’”
“She was a fighter,” O’Brian said.
The girl attended Queens High School of Teaching, where she played softball and became captain during her first year on the team.
Shantasia was one of four children including a 10-year-old sister and two siblings who had already graduated from college — a milestone their mother strongly encouraged.
“You have to go to college and make something of yourself,” O’Brian recalled telling her daughter.
Shantasia’s younger sister looked up to her and is still confused by her death.
“She doesn’t know how to process this,” O’Brian said. “She asked me, ‘Why can’t they give her a new heart?’”