Nine Bystanders Struck in Empire State Shooting

Most of the injuries were minor, police said, and two people had already been released from New York-Presbyterian Cornell Hospital by Friday afternoon

Erica Solar, a receptionist at the Empire State Building, was heading out for a cup of coffee when shots rang out.

Terrified, she tried to decide whether it would be better to run or to duck. But before she could do either, she was hit with a bullet in the leg. 

Chris Collins, an old friend of Solar, saw her lying on the ground bleeding in the middle of the street as he was on his way to work. 

"She was covering up her wound and trying to keep pressure on her wound," Collins said. "So I was just there, trying to keep her calm and console her and let her know that everything was all right."

Collins rode with Solar, a mother of two, in an ambulance to Bellevue Hospital and stayed there until her brother Louis Lleras joined her. 

"She's fine, she's stable, she's talking back to us, she's responsive. She's just a little shook up," Lleras said while visiting Solar, one of nine bystanders shot or grazed by what sources said were likely all NYPD bullets during Friday morning gunfire in Midtown.

"You're ready for a regular Friday on your way in to work, and you don't expect to see a friend bleeding on the street as soon as you get off the bus," said Collins.

All the victims were all taken to Bellevue and Cornell hospitals, mainly with graze and ricochet wounds, mostly to the lower extremities, said Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman.

Six of the victims were treated and released Friday. Three were admitted for non-life threatening injuries, like elevated blood pressure. 

One of those victims who was released early, 23-year-old Robert Asiko, was walking out of the Empire State Building, where he works as a tour guide, when he said he was hit in the arm by police gunfire.

"I knew when I woke up this morning, I didn't even feel like going to work," said Asiko. "Something told me not to go to work, but I'm like, it's a job, just go. If I knew it was going to happen, trust me, I wouldn't have gone."

"I'm scared, I'm hurting," he said. "Every part of my body is hurting. My arm is aching right now." 

All but one of the victims were from New York City; one woman was from North Carolina. The ages of those hurt ranged from 20 to 56.

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