‘This was a brazen, coordinated attack.’
A pair of masked men unleashed a fusillade of gunfire on a crowded street in a New York City neighborhood Saturday night, wounding 10 people before getting on mopeds and speeding away, police said.
New York Police Department investigators said the episode appeared to be tied to gang violence, but that seven of the shooting victims were innocent bystanders, including a 72-year-old man.
“This was, as I can most accurately describe it, a brazen, coordinated attack,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a news conference on Sunday.
No arrests have been made.
The shooting occurred about 10:38 p.m. outside a barbershop and a restaurant in the city’s Queens borough.
The NYPD released a chilling surveillance video showing two men wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts walking east on 37th Avenue near 97th Street in Corona, Queens, both with their arms extended and firing handguns.
The video shows the pair of gunmen being trailed on the sidewalk by two other masked men, also wearing hooded sweatshirts, driving mopeds. Following the shooting, the gunmen calmly climbed onto the back of the mopeds and sped away.
At least 37 bullet shell casings were recovered, but Essig said police were combing the crime scene for evidence and suspect more shots were fired.
He said three of the people shot are members of the Trinitarios street gang and are believed to have been the intended targets of the shooting.
Essig said the shooting followed “reoccurring themes” police have recently noticed as the city has seen an alarming surge in gun violence.
“That’s gang members, that’s guns, multiple guns on the scene, scooters being used, masks and, lastly, unintended targets getting hit,” Essig said. “This is unacceptable in our streets in New York City, and it has to stop.”
He said the seven innocent bystanders left with non-life-threatening wounds ranged from age 19 to 72 and included two women.
He said the gunmen appeared initially to open fire on a group of people standing in front of a barbershop, but other people wounded were attending a party at a restaurant a few doors away.
NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes pleaded with the public to help police catch the gunmen and their getaway drivers
“We need the community’s help on this one,” Holmes said.
She asked people to closely review the security video of the shooting that showed both gunmen wearing dark masks and dark hooded sweatshirts. One gunman was wearing white pants and Nike sneakers, while the other was wearing dark pants and dark sneakers.
One of the moped drivers was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and white pants, while the other driver had on what appeared to be a gray sweatshirt with a white hood and an American flag on the chest emblazoned with the letters “USA.”
“They know the area. That’s why they were wearing masks,” Holmes said. “They know the area, they come over here. Someone’s going to see that video, they’re going to see those still photos, they’re going to say, ‘Oh, I know that clothing … I know so-and-so walks that way.’ And that is why we are really, really appealing to the public. Our biggest asset is the public when it comes to solving crimes like this.”