Shanta Merritt had to pause a few times during a press conference this morning at Schenectady City Police Department regarding the investigation into the death of her daughter, Ieasha Merritt, before she began an emotional plea for witnesses to come forward.
“This is very hard, I’m sorry,” she said. “This is very very hard for me to speak right, but my daughter was everything to me. She was my first child. She was a mother at a young age — she has a son and right now I’m just asking for everyone that was there with my daughter, her friends — so-called friends that left her — come forward.”
Ieasha Merritt, 34, was slain and left in a parking lot at the corner of Albany and Hamlin streets in the city’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood just before 6:30 a.m. on July 5, 2020.
“We want the public to know we do have people of interest in regards to this but we are still asking for your help,” said Sgt. Matt Dearing during the conference.
Witnesses have been interviewed, the shooter’s vehicle was identified, and leads have been followed, police said. However, the police have yet to release the description of the car or any information on the investigation.
“Leads are not something that any department usually releases,” Dearing said in a follow-up email after the conference. “Every lead that comes in is thoroughly investigated by detectives. The information that we can release we do, but there is some information we cannot release at this time due to the nature and timeline of the investigation.”
Dearing also wouldn’t comment on whether the shooting was gang-related.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, we should know more in regards to that,” he said.
Merritt was not the intended victim; she was caught in the line of fire as three masked gunmen emerged from a vehicle and began shooting across the parking lot occupied by more than a dozen people who had gathered July 4 into July, police said.
Merritt had been shot in the head, said Sgt. Matt Dearing during the conference.
The gunmen fled, as did their intended targets, according to police.
Five cars drove around Merritt, leaving her alone and critically wounded.
Minutes passed before someone stopped and called for help, and Merritt died several days later in a hospital.
Shanta Merritt said Ieasha, her family and Ieasha’s son deserve justice.
“Please come forward, stop being scared,” she pleaded. “Come forward, y’all was there, you seen what happened to my daughter. You left her. You left her in a parking lot. You drove past her. She was there with you. Come forward please.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Schenectady Police Department’s Tips Line at 518-788-6566.