A Bronx teen was allegedly shot and killed by an off-duty corrections officer for firing on the warden with an illegal air rifle featured in the TikTok ‘Orbeez Challenge.’
Dion Middleton, 45, was arrested and charged for the murder of Raymond Chaluisant, 18, after the teenager allegedly fired at him from a car with an air rifle using Orbeez soft gel balls.
It is the same type of weapon used in the viral ‘Orbeez Challenge’ videos, The New York Daily News reported, with the challenge depicting unsuspecting strangers being fired at by pranksters.
Chaluisant died in a bloodbath after being shot while traveling in the passenger seat of a silver Acura SUV. A bloodied handprint could be seen on its door afterwards.
He was struck by a bullet in the chin, leaving his remains too disfigured to identify, a grieving relative said.
Middleton is said to have driven on to work immediately afterwards and did not report the shooting to any of his superiors.
It is unclear if Chaluisant was filming himself, and no TikTok clip of his final moments has emerged.
Air rifles such as Orbeez guns are illegal across New York City.
Raymond Chaluisant, 18 (above), was allegedly shot and killed by off-duty Corrections Officer Dion Middleton, 45, on Thursday in the Bronx
Middleton, pictured at his arraignment on Friday, was charged with murder of the teen, who allegeldy fired at the cop with an air rifle for an ‘Orbeez Challenge’
Officers found Chaluisant in a friend’s car (pictured) about half a mile away from the shooting
The challenge asks TikTokers and YouTubers to equip their air rifles or water guns with gel pellets and fire them at unsuspecting victims as a prank. The NYPD has warned against using these toys and has confiscated several of them (pictured) after Thursday’s fatal shooting
Middleton was suspended without pay and arraigned on Friday in the Bronx Criminal Court, with bail set at $1 million while Chaluisant’s family mourns the teens, saying he was only having fun with friends amid the heatwave.
‘They were just having fun,’ sister, Jiraida Esquilin, 29, told the NY Daily News. ‘I can’t believe a corrections officer killed my brother.’ Jiraida claims her sibling was playing with a water pistol, but NYPD sources insist it was a banned Orbeez gun.
Police said the shooting took place at around 1:35 a.m. on Thursday, near the intersection of the Cross Bronx Expressway and Morris Avenue.
Chaluisant was reportedly out playing with his friends when he fired at Middleton, who allegedly shot the teen as the group of friends fled the scene.
Officers found Chaluisant in a friend’s car about half a mile away from the shooting, transporting the teen to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Meanwhile, Middleton had carried on like normal, clocking into work on Friday before he was arrested at the NYPD acadmey’s firing range in Rodman’s Neck, where he works.
Esquilin condemned the officer’s actions and said her brother was only playing with the water guns in order to cool off in the hot weather.
The whole neighborhood was having a water gun fight,’ she told NY Daily News. ‘It was 90 degrees.
‘[Middleton] went and clocked in,’ Esquilin added about the man’s decision to go to work hours after the shooting. ‘He’s a 45-year-old man. Raymond could’ve been his son.
‘What a coward.’
Middleton was arrested at the NYPD acadmey’s firing range in Rodman’s Neck, where he clocked into work hours after the shooting
He was charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon. He was arraigned in the Bronx Criminal Court, with bail set at $1 million
Family and friends of Middleton were pictured waiting outside the courtroom on Friday
Middleton was charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.
Correction Commissioner Louis A. Molina said in a statement that the officer faces termination if convicted.
‘These very serious charges are in no way a reflection of the officers who work to keep our city safe every day,’ Molina said.
Hours after Chaluisant was killed, the NYPD tweeted a warning for people to avoid the use of the ‘bead blaster’ guns used in the ‘Orbeez Challenge’ and pictures of these types of toys that had been confiscated on the day of the shooting.
‘Air rifles are a violation in NYC & are unlawful to possess,’ the NYPD said.
Violators found in possession of these will be issued a criminal summons & the weapon will be confiscated.