The police on Wednesday charged a teenager with murder in connection with the killing of a 16-year-old last week on the Lower East Side, following a confrontation between two groups of young men.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said detectives had taken the suspect, identified as Timothy Montalvo, 16, into custody for possessing the weapon used in the killing and giving it to the shooter, who is still at large. In addition to murder, Mr. Montalvo was charged with weapons possession, the police said.
“He is arrested for having the weapon, carrying the weapon and giving it to the shooter,” Mr. Kelly said, identifying the shooter as Walter Rodriguez, 20. He said the police were looking for Mr. Rodriguez and two other people in connection with the killing.
The police did not immediately say whether Mr. Montalvo and Mr. Rodriguez were among four suspects seen on a surveillance tape from a convenience store captured shortly before the killing and released by the police on Monday.
“This was a dispute, possible retaliation, over jackets being stolen earlier that evening,” Mr. Kelly said, speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony for new police recruits at Queens College. “The victim may have been involved in a theft of a jacket.”
The violent confrontation that killed the 16-year-old, Raphael Ward, took place just after 9 p.m. on Friday near the corner of Rivington and Columbia Streets, about a block from where Mr. Ward lived with his mother and younger brother in the Baruch housing project.
Family and neighbors remembered Mr. Ward as a soft-spoken teenager and a talented baseball player.
The police said that on the night of the shooting he became involved in a dispute over a winter jacket — not the one he was wearing — that a group of young men said had been stolen from them. One of the men with the eventual shooter accused Mr. Ward’s group of having taken the jacket from his nephew, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.
Shots were fired soon after that, Mr. Browne said. Mr. Ward, hit in the torso, died later that night in Beth Israel Medical Center.
Despite the presence of police officers at a memorial service on Wednesday, tempers flared outside the crowded funeral home where friends and relatives came to remember Mr. Ward.
Hector Gonzalez, a manager at the Provenzano Lanza Funeral Home, said that several officers had been stationed inside during the service, which attracted “hundreds of people.”
But outside, he said, “there was some pushing” among a crowd of youngsters.
“We closed it up for a little while,” he said of the funeral home. “Then we reopened. There were no arrests; it was nothing like that.”
It was unclear what connection, if any, existed between the killing and those scuffling outside the funeral home.