Three people were hospitalized Saturday evening after a shooting in Times Square left the youngest victim, a 4-year-old girl, injured and started the NYPD on a manhunt for the gunman responsible.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed at an evening press conference that the three victims were unintended targets of the shooter and were not related to one another.
The young girl was struck in the leg, a 23-year-old woman was hit in her thigh and a 43-year-old woman was shot in the foot, police said. All three victims were taken to nearby Bellevue Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
One person of interest was being sought by police for the shooting -- he was identified in a surveillance image distributed by police late Saturday.
Shots were fired right around 5 p.m. after a reported dispute between a group of men, Shea explained. Nearby witnesses told police the men were arguing when one pulled out a gun and started shooting, striking the innocent bystanders.
Uniformed officers were near the scene of the shooting - W 44th Street and 7th Avenue - when shots rang out. People in the area were advised to expect delays as police closed off 7th Avenue between 45th and 43rd Streets.
"The first person shot is a 4-year-old female from Brooklyn. She was shot in the leg and it is believed she is undergoing surgery," Shea said. He later added that the girl was shopping for toys with her family at the time of the shooting.
The 23-year-old victim was a tourist from Rhode Island exploring Times Square after finding out the landmark she intended on seeing, the Statue of Liberty, was closed, Shea said. The other woman, 43, was from New Jersey.
"How many kids have to be shot before we take this seriously? We just had a 1-year-old homicide cleared this week," Shea said, referencing the arrest of two Brooklyn gang members for the summer 2020 shooting that killed the baby boy who had been sitting in his stroller during a family cookout.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the shooting on Twitter, stating he was glad the victims were in stable condition.
"The perpetrators of this senseless violence are being tracked down and the NYPD will bring them to justice," he tweeted. "The flood of illegal guns into our city must stop."