Courtroom chaos erupts in Syracuse over murdered 11-month-old

Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — On Tuesday morning, a chaotic scene erupted inside an Onondaga County courtroom when the man charged with killing an 11-month-old baby in a Syracuse drive-by shooting in April 2020 stood before the judge.

Back in April, 11-month-old Dior Harris was in the backseat of a car with her young cousins ages 4 and 8 when all three were struck by gunfire on Grant Avenue. Harris’ mother and older cousin in the front of the car were not injured.

What was scheduled to be a motion argument for suspect Chavez Ocasio, 24, quickly turned to chaos. Members of Dior Harris’ family were inside the courtroom for the accused killer’s appearance. No recording of the proceedings were allowed.

Once Ocasio stood in front of State Supreme Court Justice Gordon Cuffy, it was only a matter of seconds before a man in the gallery began shouting at him. He was immediately grabbed from behind by one of the security officers and escorted out of the courtroom into the hallway. Officers later confirmed that the man was taken into custody.

The mother of 11-month-old Dior Harris, who was visibly upset, also started yelling. at phrases at Ocasio like, “You killed my baby,” she called out to Ocasio, naming him “baby killer.” She was restrained by another security officer trying to put her in handcuffs.

As she was fighting back, Judge Cuffy was calling for order from the bench, but that wasn’t enough. He quickly made the decision to rush to the galley, demanding the officer to put the handcuffs away. Judge Cuffy then spoke directly to baby Dior’s mother, pleading with her. “You gotta calm down,” Cuffy said. “If you need to step out, step out and breathe for a minute.”

With support on each side of her, the mother calmed down and Ocasio’s appearance proceeded. Judge Cuffy scheduled a hearing for Ocasio on November 22.

Baby Dior’s mother and family declined to comment as they left the courtroom.

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