A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg in Times Square barely cried on the way to the hospital, the police officer who carried the child to safety said.
“This little girl was so strong,” Officer Alyssa Vogel said. “She didn’t even cry once except when we were putting the tourniquet on. She screamed because it’s very painful.”
The 4-year-old Brooklyn girl was one of three people hit by stray bullets when someone opened fire during a dispute in Times Square at about 5 p.m. Saturday. Wendy Magrinat, 23, from Rhode Island, was shot in the leg, and a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey was shot in the foot. All are expected to recover.
Police released a video of a person of interest in the shooting, but no arrests had been made as of Monday. Two senior NYPD officials identified that individual as Farrakhan Muhammad. They say they think he was trying to shoot his brother but missed and hit the trio of bystanders instead.
NYPD officials posted a video of Vogel sprinting toward an ambulance with the wounded girl. “As a mom, I think my motherly instincts just went to, you know, I need to help her,” the officer told ABC News on Monday.
"I took the tourniquet off my belt and started applying it to her leg," Vogel told NBC New York. "I put it on her and asked if she had a gunshot wound. When we realized it was the only one, I decided not to wait for an ambulance to come to me, I was just going to pick her up and run to the ambulance."
Vogel, the mother of a 6-month-old boy, said that she was "treating this little child as if she was my own," and she tried to reassure the girl's distraught mother in the moments after the shooting.
“I kept telling her to breathe and that her daughter was going to be OK,” Vogel said. “I kept trying to calm her down because she was obviously very scared.”
Vogel said the girl's mother was running right behind her as she carried the child into the ambulance and then from the ambulance to Bellevue Hospital.
“I actually got out of the ambulance with her and ran her to the pediatrics unit, where the doctors took over,” she said.
Vogel said that the young girl displayed strength beyond her years.
"She is the strongest person I've ever seen, for a little girl that was just so calm," she told News 4. "I think her being so calm is why officers were able to get her the help she needed as quick as possible."
Law enforcement sources told NBC New York that the little girl was released from the hospital and was doing well. She is expected to have a full recovery.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the shooting on Twitter, saying 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."
“In the end, people want to come to this city,” the 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.”