A 16-year-old boy posted the words ‘I’m dead’ on his Facebook page just hours before he was shot and killed by a gang of muggers.
According to New York police, Raphael Ward was shot in the chest for refusing to hand over his $600 winter parka jacket to a masked mugger in the city’s Lower East Side district.
The attack took place in temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius, at roughly 9pm last Friday, in front of the Dewitt Reformed Church on Rivington Street.
The church is just a short walk from Columbia Street, where Ward lived with his mother and seven-year-old brother.
Police said the gunman was around five foot six, weighed between eight stone five and 10 stone, and wore a dark woolly hat and ski mask during the attack.
According to reports, the mugger approached Ward and demanded his $600 Marmot coat. When Ward refused, the mugger shot him.
Before he died, Ward stumbled into a nearby convenience store and told workers he’d been assaulted by a gang of people who wanted his jacket.
Police are now examining security-camera footage that may provide clues to the murderer's identity.
Chillingly, just hours before the attack, Ward posted a prophecy of his death on his Facebook page.
Under his Facebook name ‘BloccBoy Tokyo’, Ward posted the simple message “I’m dead”.
Ward’s friend Nicolas Ramos told the New York Post that the pair were walking to get a slice of pizza when the attack took place.
Ramos said Ward 'stopped to talk to somebody and I went across the street to the pizza place, and that’s when he got shot.'
Ramos said he heard several shots, but waited a minute before he ran out to help Ward.
Another friend, 14-year-old Cynthia Nieves said she’d spoken with Ward shortly before he was shot.
Although he said nothing of the gang, he did warn Nieves to ‘go home’.
'He knew they were coming back,' she told reporters.
Police confirmed Ward had one prior arrest, in November 2011 for possession of marijuana and trespassing, but his childhood friend Will Claudio maintained Ward was a ‘real good kid’.
“We’ve been close friends since elementary school at PS 140 and he was always a good student, never in trouble,” Claudio said.
The murder was the first to occur in Manhattan in 2013.
State Senator Daniel Squadron said: “'We must continue to work together as a community to fight the scourge of gun violence and make our homes and our streets safer for our families.”
“From stronger gun laws to improved safety at NYCHA developments, we are reminded far too often that the time to act is now,' Squadron added.