NEW YORK (PIX11) — The two suspects accused in the “absolutely senseless” slaying of 11-year-old Khyara Tay in the Bronx are victims of gun violence themselves, and at least one of them is a purported gang member, officials said Friday.

The two teenagers, ages 15 and 18, were publicly identified by NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Mayor Eric Adams and Chief of Detectives James Essig during a briefing. The alleged shooter, 15-year-old Matthew Godwin, was charged as an adult, Essig said. The boy was found early Friday morning in a hotel room he was sharing with his mother.

Godwin pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, manslaughter and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.

“We are talking about a gunman who is too young to be a gunman because he is 15 years old,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said.

Omar Bojang, 18, allegedly drove the moped that Godwin allegedly shot from on Monday. Police were still searching for Bojang, as of Friday evening.

Godwin does not have prior arrests, according to Essig, but he has had “previous contact with police.” Essig said at age 12, Godwin was “the victim of harassment”; someone hit the boy in the face in October 2019 and asked him if he was a member of the 800 YGz, a “notorious, violent gang.”

Essig said there were a series of violent incidents last summer involving the 800 YGz, Sev Side and Third Side gangs, which are rivals. Those confrontations led to the murders of three teens — ages 13, 16 and 19.

Bojang is a known member of an 800 YGz subset, Essig said. He did not specify if Godwin was also known to be in the gang.

According to officials, Godwin’s intended target was a 13-year-old boy, who has not been identified by police. The boy has spoken to investigators, but a motive for the shooting has not been determined.

“Instead of hitting his intended target … [Godwin] ended the life of a totally innocent, completely uninvolved 11-year-old girl,” Sewell said. “I won’t say she was in the wrong place, because why shouldn’t an 11-year-old child be able to stand outside in broad daylight?”

Adams called attention to the ages of those involved in the tragedy. He said “over and over again,” New York City is seeing a pattern of violence among its young residents.

“This is what we’re dealing with, over and over,” he said. “Kids killing kids.”

The mayor said guns are as easy to buy in the city as “candy and comic books.” Adams, a former NYPD captain, described the ease of access to weapons — as well as the willingness to carry those weapons — as something he has never seen before.

Bojang is “not a stranger” to law enforcement, Adams said. The suspect has been shot twice himself, both times in gang-related disputes. He was also previously arrested for gun possession. Bojang is also wanted in connection with an alleged robbery.

“It’s a brutal cycle of neglect, of violence and victimhood,” Adams added. “A revolving door — we place our children in harm’s way.”

Essig said the suspected shooter, Godwin, was also previously the victim of a shooting in January. No arrests were made in that case.

A combined reward in the amount of $10,000 is being offered by Crimestoppers and the NYPD, police announced. Up to $3,500 will be paid upon the arrest and indictment of Bojang. The additional $6,500 is payable by the NYPD if Bojang is convicted.

“[Bojang and Godwin] have devastated a family while at the same time ending their own lives as they know them,” Sewell said.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).