Three Manhattan Shootings Near Schools In 5-Hour Span Were Related, NYPD Says

The first gunshots rang out just before 10 a.m. on the Upper West Side, before two other shootings near schools in Harlem and East Harlem. Three people were hurt in the shootings, but all are expected to recover

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Three shootings near Manhattan schools in a span of five hours on Tuesday — which led to the schools being put on lockdown — were connected, according to the NYPD.

The first gunshots rang out just before 10 a.m. on the Upper West Side, outside Martin Luther King High School on Amsterdam Avenue between West 67th and 68th streets. Police said that a fight broke out between a group of teens, and bullets flew shortly after.

A 17-year-old boy was shot multiple times in the stomach, according to police, and he ran to his high school just a block away. All schools in the area — including the famed LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts – were under lockdown.

The victim was taken to a hospital where he was said to be recovering after undergoing surgery. The alleged shooter, who did not go to the high school, and the victim were former classmates at one point, according to police.

Eyewitnesses helped police find the alleged gunman, a 19-year-old with three prior arrests who almost slipped away by hopping into a yellow cab. Officers found a gun inside the vehicle at West 65th Street and West End Avenue. The suspect, who has not yet been identified, was out on bail at the time of the shooting, police said, and has been charged with attempted murder.

The shelter-in-place at the school was eventually lifted shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Then, just before 1 p.m. in Harlem, two people were shot as students at Harlem Renaissance School on 128th Street and Madison Avenue were out for their lunch break. A 16-year-old was struck by the gunfire, and is believed to have been the intended target. A 27-year-old man was also shot, but he is believed to have been an unintended victim.

Both victims were hit in their legs and rushed to Harlem Hospital, and both are expected to survive. Police are searching for three men dressed in dark clothing that were seen leaving the scene and may have been involved.

The third shooting happened just before 3 p.m. over in East Harlem. Police said shots were fired at East 105th Street and Park Avenue. No one was hit, but police afterward called for additional manpower from other parts of the city to prevent another shooting from happening.

According to law enforcement sources, all three shootings were believed to be connected, and all are believed to be gang-related.

"Right now we are proceeding like they are all connected. Why do I say that? The proximity, geography around school, age of our victims and now we can confirm one incident. This incident here is gang-motivated," said NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell. "Without the community’s assistance here this morning, this would have been a harder case to solve."

The father of the 17-year-old shot emphasized to NBC New York that his son is not affiliated with any gangs, saying "he's far from a gang, he has a future."

The NYPD promised a beefed-up police presence through the night at the three crime scenes. Students who attend the high schools should expect to see officers when they come in on Wednesday and when they’re dismissed in the afternoon.

Investigations into the shootings are ongoing.

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