New York Police Department investigators are looking for a 31-year-old man they believe to be the shooter who left three people injured in Times Square over the weekend, according to two law enforcement officials.
The law enforcement officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, say the man intended to shoot his brother when he opened fire on Saturday, injuring a 4-year-old girl from Brooklyn and two female tourists.
All three are now out of the hospital and “it looks like they’ll make a strong recovery,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday at a news conference.
Police have not uncovered a motive at this time, according to the law enforcement sources.
Members of the Regional Fugitive Task Force, an elite group made up of US Marshals and federal officers, are searching for the man, one source said.
The second source said police have spoken to the man’s brother, whom the first source said was the intended target.
During the course of the investigation, police learned the man they’re looking for previously distributed CDs to tourists in Times Square and asked them for money, one source said.
Mayor increases police presence in Times Square
De Blasio said that Times Square will see an increased NYPD presence, with more officers from the NYPD’s Critical Response Command team.
“It’s important to show people that presence, I think it is reassuring and helpful,” the mayor said.
He called for gun control action in Washington to assist with stopping guns from entering the city.
“This kind of thing should not happen in our city, and there’s a lot of ways we can address it. Some of them we can do here, some of them, we need help from elsewhere,” de Blasio said. “We need Congress to help us stop the flow of guns into New York City.”
Shooting incidents and gun violence exploded in New York last year and have continued to surge in 2021. According to the NYPD’s city crime statistics, shooting incidents this year through May 2 have skyrocketed 83% over the same period a year ago.
De Blasio called the weekend shooting “unacceptable,” but the mayor said he didn’t think it would have a large impact on the city’s tourism.
“In the end, people want to come to this city, it is an overwhelmingly safe city,” de Blasio said. “The city is clearly coming back, people are starting to come here much earlier actually, than I thought they would. We’re starting to see tourism come back already … in the end, our job is: just keep bringing back this city and showing people what a great place it is to be.”
Three shell casings found at the scene, police say
The shooting occurred around 5 p.m. Saturday near 45th Street and 7th Avenue, police said.
Multiple witnesses told police that the shooting stemmed from a dispute on the street involving two to four or more males and that during the dispute, at least one person pulled out a gun, police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea said Saturday.
A gun has not been recovered but police found three shell casings from a .25-caliber gun at the scene, Shea said.
The 4-year-old girl from Brooklyn was shot in the leg. She was with her family at the time of the shooting and was expected to undergo surgery at Bellevue Hospital, Shea said.
A 23-year-old tourist from Rhode Island also was shot in the leg. The third victim is a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey who was shot in the foot.