Three people, including a 4-year-old girl, were shot in New York City's Times Square in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon. Police shut down portions of Times Square following the shooting and reopened it by Saturday night. NYPD announced that they are seeking "one person of interest" in the shooting at New York's top tourist destination.
Just before 5 p.m., there were "two to four people" who began arguing while at 44th Street and 7th Avenue, according to WABC-TV. At least one man pulled out a gun and began shooting at the other men, but missed and struck three "innocent bystanders," NYPD police commissioner Dermot Shea said at a press conference.
"Pow pow pow pow, just like that," a witness told WABC. "It was real quick. And we heard it, it just sounded like a firecracker."
"I heard about four or five shots. Then a few minutes later, I saw them pick up the girl. She looked like she got shot in the leg. They put her in the ambulance," another witness said of the police racing to save the wounded 4-year-old girl.
Video of the moment of the shooting shows a frantic stampede in the tourist area of Times Square.
Breaking: Video shows the moment a woman and child were shot in Times Square. The suspect is on the loose. (Video v… https://t.co/WU1H3XC486— PM Breaking News (@PM Breaking News) 1620511795.0
"Shots rang out, three of them, and everyone just kind of stopped and was in shock," another witness told WLNY-TV. "So many people swarmed around them so quickly… . They didn't look good, but you didn't really hear them scream, or anything like that. It just happened really, really quick."
Bill Bratton, who served two terms as the New York City police commissioner, posted a video of NYPD officers running to save the girl. He captioned the video with the caption: "Hero NYPD cop rushing through the danger in Times Square tonight as she carries a 4-year-old who was shot to waiting paramedics. A very vivid example of the absurdity of proposals to defund or abolish the police."
The three shooting victims were a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey who was shot in the foot, a 23-year-old female tourist from Rhode Island who was in Times Square after she was unable to get tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty, and a 4-year-old girl from Brooklyn who was shopping for toys with her parents when she was shot in the leg. All three wounded victims were transported to Bellevue Hospital, and are expected to survive their injuries, including the 4-year-old girl who underwent surgery.
The NYPD released a photo and video of a person of interest, but did not specify if the man was the shooter. Overnight, NYPD detectives and a K9 unit found clothing discarded in trash cans that match those worn by the person of interest. Shea said no guns have been recovered from the crime scene, but law enforcement discovered three .25 caliber shell casings.
Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the possible suspect.
WANTED in connection to shooting three people near West 44th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan on May 8, 2021.… https://t.co/gQWB4XJ3BN— NYPD NEWS (@NYPD NEWS) 1620519320.0
Earlier today, 3 people were shot in @TimesSquareNYC, including a 4-year-old child. Help your @NYPDDetectives iden… https://t.co/0CRMJnxqPi— Commissioner Shea (@Commissioner Shea) 1620519540.0
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the shooting on the "flood of illegal guns."
"Thankfully these innocent bystanders are in stable condition," the far-left mayor said. "The perpetrators of this senseless violence are being tracked down and the NYPD will bring them to justice. The flood of illegal guns into our city must stop."
Here’s the latest from Times Square: Thankfully these innocent bystanders are in stable condition. The perpetrat… https://t.co/ZSkrqIzaBa— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio) 1620512804.0
Police commissioner Shea didn't blame the gun as de Blasio did, but rather pointed the finger at the city's elimination of cash bail for almost all offenses except for violent felonies.
"I think we've we've spoken about this ad nauseum at this point day in and day out. Earlier this morning … we had an innocent 60-year-old pushed onto the subway tracks," Shea said during a press conference on Saturday night, according to BizPac Review. "The individual was almost immediately arrested by responding police officers. It is the third time this year already that that individual has been arrested for unprovoked assaults."
Shea asked, "When is this going to end? How many more people have to be injured, pushed in front of a train or in this case, a young four-year-old toy-shopping shot? How many more kids do we need to be shot before we realize that bad policies have consequences and we need action and we need policies regarding laws that have consequences?"
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea updates on Times Square shooting www.youtube.com
Last summer, de Blasio buckled to the "defund the police" movement and shifted $1 billion away from the NYPD budget.
In April, de Blasio spent $30 million in taxpayer money on an ad campaign to promote New York City tourism, despite many restrictive pandemic lockdown measures still in place and soaring violent crime rates.