An 11-month-old girl, who was supposed to be celebrating her first birthday pm Friday, instead was recovering in the hospital after she was shot in the face while sitting in a car with her mother in the Bronx, earlier in the week.
And in the days since the shooting that shocked the city after the terrifying incident went down on a crowded street, police said they have only received two tips in the case — and neither is said to be credible.
The shooting occurred on Valentine Avenue near East 198th Street in the Bedford Park neighborhood around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, senior police officials said. Two men were seen on surveillance video racing down the street just before the shooting, when one pulls out a gun and fires.
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The child and mother were sitting in a car, with the child's father in the corner deli, when a stray bullet was fired into the car, striking the infant in the left cheek, according a senior police official. A blood-stained pink baby jacket could be seen left in the street, as witnesses said it was ripped off in the panic after the gunfire.
One suspect, described as wearing all black, fled the scene, heading west on East 198th Street, two senior NYPD officials said. Police are searching for both of the men seen on the surveillance video.
A shell casing was recovered at the scene. An investigation is ongoing — but that investigation is hitting an unexpected wall.
The community came together to pray and wish little Catherine a happy birthday, as she remains in a hospital bed with family by her side. That happens as the gunman is still on the loose — a frustrating fact for police, but not as frustrating as the deafening silence coming from the community.
"I'm not happy about this, it's very troubling because when something bad such as this happens in a community, the community is supposed to rise up," said NYPD Deputy Chief Timothy McCormack, commanding officer of the Bronx detective bureau. "Pick up the phone and call, and I'm not getting that here."
McCormack said that for the men and women investigating the case, it's personal.
"This is about a baby. A child that should be celebrating its first birthday today in a very safe environment at home with family. Instead, mom and dad are sitting bedside with a vigil," McCormack said.
On Friday, Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell walked through the neighborhood where the shooting took place, encouraging people to speak up.
"This person had no regard for people on the street, so we need help. The detectives are working hard on this case, and I'm asking people when you tuck your child in tonight, think about it: That could have been your child," Adams said.
McCormack ensured that all tips can be kept confidential.
"We don't ask you your name. We just need you to provide the info and we work from there," McCormack said. "So don't be afraid, pick up the phone and help this family. Give them their first birthday present, giving us the identity of this person."
Police have offered thousands of dollars for any information leading to an arrest.