What to Know
- The 5-year-old boy was hit in the head by a stray bullet as he walked with his dad to a waiting car in the Bronx Monday, cops say
- The bullet was fired by a gunman who shot at another man four times, police say
- The child remained hospitalized in grave condition Tuesday
A Bronx man recently released from prison has been arrested in the stray bullet shooting that left a 5-year-old boy fighting for his life on his birthday, authorities said Tuesday.
Michael Quiles, 27, was arrested on attempted murder charges in the shooting that left the boy in critical condition. Quiles has 10 prior arrests, including for assault, criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana, and served time in prison for attempted kidnapping, sources say.
Information on a lawyer for Quiles wasn't immediately available.
People booed Quiles as he was led from the police station Tuesday evening, shouting "Burn in hell" and "New York hates you." He said nothing as he was put into a police car.
The boy, Jaheem Hunter, was gravely wounded when a gunman opened fire on another man as the child walked to a car after a visit with his father on Washington Avenue in Morrisania around 5 p.m. Monday, police said. Surveillance video showed people ducking for cover and one person racing away from the scene.
The man racing from the scene, wearing a purple coat, is believed to be Quiles, according to sources. He was also seen in the video entering an apartment building, where he was arrested Tuesday.
Mayor de Blasio called the shooting "absolutely heartbreaking" and said doctors were working to save the boy's life.
At a rally organized Tuesday by community groups in front of the hospital where Jaheem is still fighting for his life, city leaders and activists called on more to be done to stop the violence. Ironically, Hunter's own brother helped organize a motorcycle ride against gun violence over the weekend, only to learn his baby brother had become a victim.
Family asked for the public to keep the child in their thoughts.
"For the love of our baby Hunter, we ask you continue to lift our family uplift in prayer," said Linda Kemp.
Neighbor Dejion Taylor says he knows the family and saw what happened. He said Jaheem was with his father in the neighborhood bodega around 5 p.m., and the two had walked out when bullets started flying.
Taylor said looked out his window and saw the horrifying moment Jaheem hit the ground.
"I heard shots, I looked outside -- I see the little boy hit the floor, I was just like, 'wow,'" said Taylor. "His father was just screaming, 'You shot my son, you shot my son.'"
Taylor described Jaheem as a happy little boy, always smiling and riding his scooter with his father.
Police haven't said what led to the dispute between the gunman and his intended target, but people in the neighborhood say the suspect was beaten by a man with a bat last week -- and he may have been seeking revenge.
Quiles has a prior arrest for attempted kidnapping, according to state correction records. He was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison and released on parole in October 2016.