As New York City attempts to recover from the pandemic, there's another urgent epidemic that residents say must be addressed: gun violence.
So far this year, there have been 448 reported gun-related incidents across the five boroughs that impacted 501 victims, according to the NYPD's statistics. That's nearly doubled the number of incidents reported the same time last year, but that's also when the city was almost two months into COVID-19 shutdown. In 2019, when overall crime hit a record low across the five boroughs, there were a total of 766 reported shootings.
Just this weekend alone, there were 25 separate incidents with 30 victims, including three bystanders who were shot on Saturday in Times Square.
So far, no arrests have been made but two senior NYPD officials identified Farrakhan Muhammad as the person of interest in the shooting. A video captured the person of interest walking away from the scene, the Police Department said on Twitter.
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Police are still searching for the suspect who tried to shoot his brother following an argument near West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue but ended up injuring a tourist, a 4-year-old girl from Brooklyn and a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey instead.
Wendy Magrinat, a 23-year-old Rhode Island resident who was on a Mother’s Day trip to New York City, told NBC New York that it was a "scary" moment but now she's back home and recovering.
Magrinat said that she will likely have a bullet lodged in her leg for the rest of her life. “The doctors said that they wouldn’t do any surgery or take out the bullet, just because it would do more damage,” she said.
A new video from the chaos shows witnesses frantically trying to flag dog police officers after bystanders were left injured. The 4-year-old girl who was shot in the foot was simply out buying toys with her family when she was hit, police said.
Officer Alyssa Vogel was seen sprinting to safety with the girl in her arms. She told the New York Post that the girl is "the stronger little girl I've ever seen," adding that she didn't cry once except when they were putting the tourniquet on her.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shooting “senseless violence” and promised that those responsible would be brought to justice. “The flood of illegal guns into our city must stop,” the mayor said on Twitter.