Neighbors of 20-year-old Shawn Smith said that the Brooklyn, New York, man always seemed “a little off.”
Benny Isakajv, who lives in the same apartment complex as Smith, told CBS New York:
“He just walked around. Never really spoke to nobody.”
But what he supposedly did in the early morning hours of Saturday left area residents in shock.
According to the New York City Police Department, Smith allegedly threw his younger brother off the roof of their building around 3:30 a.m.
The boy, 4-year-old Shimron Smith, landed in the building’s courtyard. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The siblings’ mother, Odessa Frith, said the older brother was suicidal and has mental problems.
She told the New York Post he was behaving “maniacally laughing” at nothing the night before he allegedly killed Shimron:
“He was laughing and laughing. Usually, he was a quiet person.”
Frith said the 20-year-old had gone off prescribed medication just days ago.
According to witnesses, Smith pulled his little brother out of bed in the middle of the night and carried him up to the roof. Isakajv said:
“They say he had schizophrenia so I guess that got the best of him.”
The 20-year-old was charged with murder in the second degree after he confessed to killing the child.
He was spotted smiling as he walked out of the 70th Precinct on Saturday.
Neighbors have started a small memorial outside the boy’s home. Resident Donna Hayward told CBS New York:
“I have a little one myself. I can’t fathom somebody taking my child and throwing him off the roof like that. It tears me apart. It hurts me to the core to even hear it.”
Police said the investigation into the child’s death is still ongoing.