- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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The two individuals wanted in connection for the killing of Tayshana Murphy, the 18-year-old senior guard at Murry Bergtraum who was killed on Sept. 11, have been arrested and placed in custody in Columbia, S.C., according to police.
Robert Cartagena, 20, and Tyshawn Brockington, 21, are now waiting for extradition in front of a judge in South Carolina, police said. The pair can waive the extradition process and voluntarily go back to New York or they can fight it, the police said. The two expected to be placed in front of a judge at sometime Thursday, police added.
"We're really happy to hear they caught the two kids," Murphy's 24-year-old sister, Deana Hicks, said by phone Wednesday night.
The police and other law enforcement units had been searching for the two suspects for about a week before they were found in South Carolina. They were located at an apartment complex off of Broad River Road in Columbia on Wednesday, according to a release by the U.S. Marshals Service.
The press release said that the NYPD worked with the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force to develop new information, which led them to believe that the two were headed to the South. This information was passed to Operation Intercept (OPIN) and new details showed that the two may have been hiding in an apartment at Broad River Road.
OPIN and the NYPD set up surveillance and saw people matching the description of the two individuals. OPIN and NYPD apprehended the suspects in a bedroom after they found Cartagena hiding in a closet, the release said. Both were transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center to await bond and extradition hearings, the release added.
"The arrests of Brockington and Cartagena are examples of how far reaching the arms are of the U.S. Marshals Service," U.S. Marshal for the District of South Carolina Kelvin Washington said in the press release. "The many hours of interviewing and investigation by NYPD and OPIN agents to bring these fugitives to justice has been proven again and their dedication in their sworn oath of 'Protect and Serve'. Our law enforcement partnerships stretch beyond the borders of South Carolina and across jurisdictions. We hope this will bring some closure to the family of young Tayshana."
While Hicks said her first response to hearing the news that the alleged killers had been nabbed was "Thank God," she said their capture did not bring any comfort to her or her family.
"It's not going to bring her back," Hicks said.
Murphy, one of the top girls basketball prospects in the city, was shot in the head in the hallway of her home in the Grant Houses in Harlem on Sept. 11. Police have said her death may have stemmed from a feud between the Grant Houses and the nearby Manhattanville Houses.
While at first it was believed she was shot because of a mistaken identity, a New York Daily News report later said she may have been killed purposefully. Murphy's cousin, Pierre Walton, told the paper that her younger brother, who is nicknamed Bam-Bam, may have been a target of the suspects, perhaps leading to her being shot.
Police previously arrested 24-year-old Terique Collins for criminal possession of a weapon after police said Collins was seen on video in possession of a weapon at the Grant Houses around the time Murphy was killed. Collins allegedly supplied the murder weapon, according to reports.
Murphy's funeral and wake were held last Friday and Saturday and the family received lots of support from the community. Thousands of people came to her wake in Long Island City on Friday and hundreds were there for her funeral on Saturday morning.
"It's been good to see the support," Hicks said.
The point guard had just started her senior year Murry Bergtraum. She spent her freshman year and part of her sophomore year at Bishop Loughlin before transferring to St. Michael's. When that school closed, she landed at Murry Bergtraum. She missed her junior season with an ACL tear and was the No. 16 point guard in the nation, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
2hBy Ian O'Connor