Michelle Kim

Shooting Near The Battery Highlights Aggressive Ticket Vendors in Crowded Tourist Destinations

A shooting that wounded two near The Battery in Lower Manhattan Monday afternoon is again highlighting the issue of aggressive vendors in tourist destinations. 

The shooting happened in front of 17 Battery Place when an argument in the park across the street spilled over, and a man pulled out a gun and started firing, according to police. 

Police say a ticket vendor, seen in surveillance images wearing a red-checked shirt, overcoat and cap, and a colleague, seen wearing a blue shirt, got into a fight with another ticket vendor, and it ended in gunfire.

"We believe they are part of the individuals who were selling tickets down there," said NYPD Chief Bob Boyce. "We don't know the exact cause of the dispute. We believe it involves selling tickets to the ferry."

When the dust settled, two people had been hit: a man who was grazed in the side, and a woman -- an innocent bystander -- who was hit in the leg.

NYC Parks enforcement officer Joe Puleo says illegal or fake tickets vendors in places like The Battery are exploiting tourists and overcharging them in what he calls a "criminal enterprise." 

Some of the vendors menace people and have criminal histories, he claims. It's a problem reported previously by News 4. 

"When people start getting into other people's turfs, we get this reaction, and it's tragic that other people were affected by it, like the lady who was shot in the leg," said Puleo. 

Puleo said parks officers work with the NYPD in policing the vendors but they need real laws with teeth to end the problem. 

"This is how violent they can get in a moment's notice," said Puleo. "If they don't get what they want, or if they feel they've been disrespected, they have no problems deploying violence." 

No arrest has been made in Monday's shooting.  

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