Police have identified their prime suspect in Saturday's Times Square shooting that injured three bystanders, including a 4-year-old girl, and sent hundreds fleeing from the sound of gunshots in New York City's iconic tourist destination.
Farrakhan Muhammad was identified by two senior NYPD officials as the person of interest in Saturday's Times Square shooting. They say he attempted to shoot his brother after an argument, but missed, striking the three bystanders.
The three victims were recovering Sunday, each had suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. Among the injured were a 4-year-old girl from Brooklyn, a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey, and a 23-year-old woman visiting the city for Mother's Day.
Wendy Magrinat was in town from Rhode Island with her husband and 2-year-old child when she became the latest victim of gun violence in New York City. Magrinat said she heard a scuffle from nearby and the next thing she knew, she was shot.
"All of a sudden I heard someone call out in a bad tone at someone. I told my husband 'let's move a little bit forward' because he had our 2-year-old in his hands," she told NBC New York. "At the same moment I told him that, the shots fired. I walked a little bit and then I started screaming, asking for help."
Magrinat said the bullet shot into her leg would likely be there 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.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed at a press conference late Saturday that the three victims were unintended targets of the shooter and were not related to one another.
"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 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.
"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.
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.
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."
De Blasio insisted Monday that the daylight shooting at a high-profile location would not deter visitors from returning to the city as the coronavirus pandemic wanes.
“In the end, people want to come to this city,” the Democratic mayor said at a virtual briefing. “It is an overwhelmingly safe city, when you look at New York City compared to cities around the country, around the world.”
De Blasio said tourists have already started returning. “I thought it would take into the summer before we'd see that kind of comeback,” he said. “It’s happening now.”