Full Story: “There’s No Reason A Shot Should Have Been Fired”

Police are calling the shooting death of a 17-year-old Watertown boy a "senseless" act of violence
WATERTOWN, S.D. – A 17-year-old Watertown boy is dead and a 30-year-old man is now behind bars, in what police are calling a “senseless” act of violence.

It happened just before 9 Saturday night, in the 200 block of 4th Avenue SW.

“The communication officer was actually on the phone with a witness during the verbal altercation and that’s when the shot was fired,” says assistant chief Tim Toomey with the Watertown Police Department.

Toomey says 17-year-old Jayden Harley was fatally shot once in the chest.

“Within 3 to 4 minutes, there was half a dozen cop cars, sheriff’s, highway patrol [troopers],” explains Mike Scissons, who lives nearby. “They all hit the corner down here and all of a sudden everyone is bringing out automatic rifles, combat gear, bullet proof vests.”

Scissons says he heard a loud bang, but never expected it to be a gunshot.

“It’s close enough to the 4th of July, I thought it was a firecracker,” says Scissons. “This is Watertown, that’s not supposed to happen here.”

“It’s affecting not only friends and family, but the whole community,” adds Toomey.

The assistant chief says Harley recently graduated from Watertown High School.

“Tragically, they victim did have a graduation party earlier that day, but it wasn’t at that residence.”

The suspect, 30-year-old Alexis Velazquez, was arrested at the scene for second degree murder.

Police say alcohol or drugs did not play a factor, and the suspect and victim did not know each other.

“It appears to be a random quick escalation that is just a senseless act of violence that should not have happened,” says Toomey.

Instead, police believe the argument that took place in the street, started over a noise complaint.

“Noise complaints are pretty common,” says Toomey. “What one person finds suitable, the other person might be annoyed by it. But those are the times you call the police department and we’ll come in and mediate.”

Scissons says noise isn’t usually a problem in his neighborhood.

“If you get loud noises, you get teenagers running around with really loud stereos, that kind of stuff.”

Police say this incident is an example of reacting to violence too quickly.

“There’s no reason a gun should have been brought out,” says Toomey. “There’s no reason a shot should have been fired. There’s no reason a confrontation should have happened.”

Velazquez’ bond has been set at $50,000.

Police say there are no other suspects in this case, but there were several witnesses who saw what happened.

During a press conference, Toomey relayed a message from Jayden Harley’s mom.

“She wanted people to know to hug their children, because you never know when it’s going to be the last time,” says Toomey.

The family is asking for privacy during this difficult time.

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