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Disputing the Account by Police, a Friend Says Slain Youth Did Not Resist Officers

March 27, 1995. The New York Times, pg. B3

The police said 16-year-old Yong Xin Huang was shot and killed during a struggle with an officer on Friday when the officer's gun accidently discharged.

Yesterday, a friend of Mr. Huang said that the teen-ager did not resist and that the shooting was not accidental.

The two starkly different versions emerged as the police and the family struggled to find out what really happened Friday morning in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. One thing both agreed on was that Mr. Huang was carrying a carbon dioxide-powered Grossman Air Pistol, which resembles a real weapon, outside a friend's house. What happened after the police arrived is subject to dispute.

The friend, who insisted on anonymity because he said he was fearful of the police, said there was no struggle. "We were playing around and suddenly we saw the cops. They told us not to move. We all stopped."

The Police Department would not comment on the friend's account.

The friend, who said he provided his account to investigators Friday night, said that he, Mr. Huang and two others were shooting the gun Friday morning at trees and garbage cans, not humans.

Alarmed by the pellet gun, a neighbor across the street called the police. The police from the 60th and 61st Precincts responded to the radio call.

According to the police report, Mr. Huang resisted attempts by Officer Steven Mizrahi to subdue him. During the struggle, Officer Mizrahi, a eight-year veteran of the force, shot the youth once in the head.

But the friend said Mr. Huang did not resist. He said Mr. Huang, who was holding the pellet gun, dropped it right away, but the police still grabbed him and pinned him against a glass door. Cursing, the police officers smashed Mr. Huang's body against the door, shattering the glass, the friend said.

"My friend was standing about a foot from me," the friend said. "He was facing the screen door. His back was toward the police. He couldn't move. If he struggled, I would have seen it or felt the movement. It was just impossible to imagine that he even tried to move."

The friend also said the police shot Mr. Huang in the back of the head.

An autopsy report was completed Saturday, but the Medical Examiner's office would not comment on the direction of the bullet.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the office, would only say that Mr. Huang died of brain injuries.

City police officers said that although the type of gun used in the incident, a Glock 9-millimeter semiautomatic, is known to discharge with little trigger force, the weapons used by the New York City Police Department have been modified to have "New York triggers." An extra 18 to 20 pounds of resistance were added to the triggers so they would not discharge easily, the officers said.

Mr. Huang, a ninth grader and an honor student at Robert Wagner Junior High School on the Upper East Side, immigrated to America with his family in 1986. The youngest of four children and the only son, he was to be "made a dragon" - his family would help him succeed professionally - family members said.

To help him get into a good high school - Stuyvesant High School was his first choice - family members pooled their money and sent him to weekend tutoring schools in Queens.

And Mr. Huang did not disappoint them, winning accolades and honors in sports and academics, said his sister, Joyce. On Thursday, the day before his death, he had told his sister he received an A on a science test.

Ms. Huang said her brother rarely played outside, preferring to stay home instead with Nintendo games, comic books and his saxophone. He was also a tinkerer who liked electronics and machines, family members said.

Mr. Huang spend Thursday night with a friend and they decided to play at another friend's house the next morning.

Family members said they were anxiously awaiting the results of the autopsy. "My brother was not a violent person," Ms. Huang said. "He weighed only 100 pounds and was only 5-6. He was too small to struggle."


Copyright 1995 The New York Times Company

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