The heartbreaking death of 16-year-old Khaseen Morris hit the Oceanside, New York community hard as many saw on Saturday. Family and friends of the slain teen gathered at Tower Funeral Home to pay their respects to the late teen. The loss is hard enough to stomach for most but it has been compounded due to the presence of social media in the case.
Morris was fatally stabbed in the parking lot of a strip mall on Sept. 16 after a confrontation that was reportedly over a girl according to ABC News.
"There was a bunch of people sitting by the Chinese restaurant ... about 15 kids, and then, all of a sudden, while I was on the phone speaking, eight -- seven or eight kids came from the north and targeted certain people that I believe they were looking for," a witness said according to ABC News.
A man of only 16 Years was taken from his family on Monday September 16th when a fight broke out where he was stabbed to death while over 50 students recorded on their Phones instead of helping. We need to Stand up to stop this!— Levy (@ThatKidLevy) September 19, 2019
Rest in Power Kasheen Morris 🙏#KasheenMorris pic.twitter.com/p16R7QBdS7
While the eight suspected assailants attacked Morris, "dozens of onlookers" watched in the parking lot and some pulled out their phones, streaming and filming the incident for Snapchat and social media.
"Kids stood here and didn't help Khaseen -- they'd rather video this event. ... They video'd his death instead of helping," Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick told the media at a press conference earlier in the week. "So anyone who has video, come forward. Do the right thing for Khaseen."
Morris' family were shocked by the footage and what they saw shared by those present.
"You could see him like, in so much pain, and he couldn't breathe, and he just fell, and no one helped him," Morris' sister Kenyanna told ABC7 in New York, describing her late brother as a "sweetheart" ahead of the vigil that was held for him in the parking lot site of his murder.
While the suspects involved are not part of a gang, they are being charged with gang assault by Nassau Police for each having an "active role" in the attack.
"The seven subjects were active participants in the attack on Khaseen Morris and his friend," Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said during Saturday's press conference announcing the charges. "Physically beating, physically hitting people, throwing them to the ground, each one of them had an active role."
The suspects arrested Saturday include Haakim Mechan, 19, Marquis Stephens Jr., 18, Javonte Neals, 18, Taj Woodruff, 17, Sean Merritt, 17, and a pair of unnamed 16-year-olds being considered juveniles. 18-year-old Tyle Flach had previously been charged with the murder and is alleged to have "stabbed Morris in the chest."
Flach pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently being held without bail. The case will head to a grand jury according to ABC News, where charges can be added and changed as police continue to investigate and search for more video.
#BREAKING : 2 of the 7 suspects headed to arraignment in handcuffs after being charged with gang assault in connection to the stabbing death of 16-year-old #KasheenMorris of #LongIsland in mid September. @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/fNB8zL9uFw— Marc Liverman (@MarcLiverman) September 28, 2019
News footage from Saturday showed the suspects being led into court for their arraignment, with District Attorney Madeline Singas saying the seven teens "will be accountable for this most violent and atrocious attack."