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What you need to know for 12/13/2017

Schenectady cops continue probe into teen's killing

Schenectady cops continue probe into teen's killing

The investigation into the shooting death of a 17-year-old mother inside her family’s apartment cont
Schenectady cops continue probe into teen's killing
A Schenectady police car on Friday stands by in front of 524 Schenectady St., where a young woman was fatally shot late Thursday night.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
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The investigation into the shooting death of a 17-year-old mother inside her family’s apartment continued Friday, as police said they are doing all they can to find her killer.

Medina Knowles, of 524 Schenectady St., died after the 11:30 p.m. Thursday shooting from a wound to her head, police said. She died at the scene.

Police reported no arrests Friday.

“This is an open and active criminal investigation, and members of the Schenectady Police Department are doing all they can to come to a resolution,” police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said at the scene of the shooting Friday afternoon.

Knowles lived in the apartment with her mother, younger siblings and her own 2-year-old son, those who know the family said.

McCracken confirmed the apartment contained several others at the time of the shooting, though he would not identify them.

He also would not say if police believe the perpetrator or perpetrators forced their way into the home or entered by other means.

Anyone with information about the incident was encouraged to contact police at 518-788-6566.

Neighbor Ashley Clark first knew something was wrong when she heard two gunshots, which she said sounded like they came from close by. At first, she thought they sounded like a BB gun, but then she heard a woman next door yelling.

The mother’s like, ‘They killed my baby!” Clark recalled Friday morning in front of her home. “I got kids upstairs too, this is ... I’ve got kids myself. I’ve got to get my kids out of here.”

Clark confirmed Knowles had a 2-year-old child. Also living at the apartment, Clark said, were Knowles’ three younger siblings and their mother.

Those who knew Knowles recalled the teen as a devoted mother who hoped to finish school and find work in order to better care for her son.

She would have turned 18 next month.

Knowles attended Schenectady High School, a district spokeswoman confirmed Friday. The district has mobilized its crisis team, including counselors and social workers, to provide support for students.

“Our team will continue to be available and provide ongoing support for our students and staff members during this difficult time,” said district officials in a prepared statement.

An autopsy on Knowles was scheduled for Friday afternoon. Police did not release the results.

A Facebook page believed to belong to Knowles showed a series of image posts, shared about 11 hours prior to her death, including one on karma and one on the presidential election.

One post read, “Don’t waste your time on revenge. Those who hurt you will eventually face their own KARMA.” Another simply read, “Always Love Your Mother Because You will Never Get Another.”

A direct text post added just before 12:30 p.m. Thursday reads, without context, “I Was Never Scared Of Nobody Daughter Honestly. Always Ready For War.”

A police spokesman said Friday afternoon “there is no reason to suspect” any connection between Knowles’ death and a July incident that resulted in three women being arrested on charges that accuse them of assaulting Knowles at her 524 Schenectady St. residence.

According to police and court records, two 18-year-olds and a 20-year-old face assault charges in the incident.

One is accused of smashing a bottle over Knowles’ knee just before 3 a.m. on July 17, resulting in Knowles suffering a large cut. That person, Tierra K. Strother, 18, of Emmett Street, faces one count of second-degree assault, a felony. Her attorney could not be reached Friday.

The other two individuals face misdemeanor assault counts. The three were arrested in late August and were released, records show.

“We are aware of the prior incident, but there is no reason to suspect that they are connected,” McCracken said.

Knowles’ killing marks the fourth homicide in Schenectady of 2016 and first in more than four months.

In the most recent prior killing, 29-year-old Taquan Foreman died after being inside 410 Paige St. during what authorities have called a home invasion robbery attempt. Three people have been charged related to Foreman’s death.

The city’s first two homicides of the year happened on the same street, two months apart.

Andre D. Lee, 30, died March 17 after being shot multiple times in front of 337 Germania Ave. His killing remains unsolved.

Marquel E. Fallen, 22, of Albany, was shot and killed Jan. 30 while in a vehicle parked outside 315 Germania Ave.

Police have said there’s no reason to believe those killings were related, and an arrest has since been made in the Fallen case.

Thursday night’s shooting also happened on a street that saw a cluster of three shootings more than 13 months earlier.

Unlike Thursday’s shooting, which happened inside a home, all three of the July-August 2015 shootings happened on the street.

In those incidents, Kusaan Tolliver, 18, was shot and killed July 27, 2015. His killer is now in prison. A memorial to Tolliver still stands three houses down from Thursday night’s shooting scene.

The other two non-fatal Schenectady Street shootings happened July 23, 2015, and Aug. 2, 2015, respectively.

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