The man accused of gunning down a 24-year-old last week and firing bullets that narrowly missed two children walking down a Bronx sidewalk has been arrested, police said Friday.
A weeklong manhunt for the gunman started back on July 18 when the NYPD released video of the previous day's shooting in broad daylight. The terrifying video drew national attention as New York City grapples with rising gun violence, which has caught a growing number of children in its crosshairs.
Michael Lopez, 27, was arrested early Friday morning on a number of charges relating to the violent shooting last Thursday, including attempted murder and reckless endangerment, NYPD officials said. The second suspect, seen on video driving a scooter and accused of serving as Lopez's getaway driver, is still wanted by police.
Top officials announced at a press conference late Friday that Lopez was picked up Friday morning in Harlem at his step father's house. A Harlem resident himself, police said Lopez has a history of arrests for violent crimes including attempted murder in 2014.
Lopez has five prior arrests and was on parole for the attempted murder arrest, Chief of Detectives James Essig said. His most recent arrest was last January, in 2020, for robbery at knifepoint, Essig added.
Contact information for Lopez's legal defense was not immediately known. He was expected to face a judge for a first court appearance on Friday.
Essig and Commissioner Dermot Shea also identified Lopez as a member of the Make It Happen Boys gang. The ongoing investigation is still looking into whether the 24-year-old shooting victim is affiliated with any gang activity.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark implored the public at the afternoon press conference to come forward and assist the department to help apprehend wanted criminals.
"It took days for the suspect to be apprehended. But what we really needed was for the public to come to us immediately to let us know who the suspect was so that we could get him off the streets as soon as possible," Clark said.
The children — a 13- and 5-year-old sister and brother who were just steps away from their home — somehow avoided being shot as the gunman opened fire on his intended target, a gang member, according to police. The target scrambled to escape the gunfire, falling on top of the kids as the hitman fired off a dozen rounds.
The victim was struck in the leg and back and was taken to a nearby hospital, police said. He's expected to survive. Amazingly, the two children were not struck by any of the bullets, and were physically unharmed. But their parents say the harrowing ordeal has taken a psychological toll.
"My kids are traumatized, whenever they hear a noise outside they start shaking and get really nervous," the father of the children said in Spanish while speaking to reporter's in the lobby of the family's apartment building, across the street from the bodega.
The 13-year-old girl had taken her younger brother to buy candy at the store when the chaos erupted. Their mother said they don't know the shooter or the victim.
"The kids were not with those people. The kids were just in the bodega buying something," the mother said.
What can be seen on the video is the older sister trying to protect her little brother, shielding him from the danger.
"I'm not sure what it takes to get the key to the city, but I nominate her," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison. "But I will say this, I'm very optimistic ... we do have some good leads."