A 14-year-old boy was shot once in the head, suffering a graze wound, as he boarded an MTA bus in Harlem Thursday, authorities and two senior NYPD officials with knowledge of the case tell News 4.
The boy was wounded as he got on the M1 bus in front of an apartment building on East 139th Street near Lenox Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. Police sources do not believe that it was a random shooting, and NYPD Inspector Peter Fiorillo said that the shooting "after viewing some video, I can say right now, it looks intentional to me."
Officials later said they were looking into whether the shooting was gang-related. Police sources told NBC New York that the teen was being watched and stalked when he stepped onto the bus, which is when the shooter rushed at him and fired.
Police officials say the boy was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
"He was shot at and he was shot at at his head. What that says to us in this work is someone was trying to take his life, so I had to have that conversation with his mother at the hospital," said Iesha Sekou of Street Corner Resources, a community group working to stop gun violence.
The shooter ran off after opening fire. Ballistic evidence has been recovered from the scene as investigators continue to search for him, the senior officials said.
News 4 obtained a photo of the bus that showed a clear bullet hole in the driver's side window. Another bullet hit protective plastic, with a metal bar stopping the bullet and possibly saving the MTA driver's life.
The driver of the bus is 39 years old and has had 4 1/2 years on the job, MTA President Craig Cipriano said. He said his "heart goes out" to that driver, who was said to have suffered a minor injury to his left hand along with emotional trauma.
"The bus operator barrier, the metal bar on the bus operator barrier stopped one of the bullets. Which otherwise could have had really serious consequences," said Cipriano.
Police were canvassing the area for possible surveillance video as they hunt for the shooter, who remains on the loose.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.