Shooting in Queens, New York Leaves 10 Wounded

Shooting in Queens, New York Leaves 10 Wounded

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – It seemed like an ordinary Saturday (July 31) night on a stretch of 37th Avenue in Queens, New York: Men gathered in front of a barbershop, a restaurant hosted a birthday party and a shopkeeper waited for customers inside a meat market.

But chaos arrived about 10.40pm local time, when two gunmen wearing hoodies and masks rounded a corner and released a hail of bullets, the police said. They were aiming at three men in front of the barbershop believed to be members of the Trinitarios gang, but also struck seven bystanders, the police said, The New York Times reported.

The gunmen hopped on a pair of waiting scooters driven by accomplices who sped away, surveillance video showed.

The mass shooting in North Corona, a Latino enclave where gun violence seldom occurs, drew the Democratic and Republican mayoral nominees to the scene, where they called on New York City to step up its attacks on gangs and gun violence.

Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee and a former police captain who ran on his law enforcement record and a promise to crack down on crime, warned that the violence would only worsen without adequate intervention.

"We are losing the grip on public safety, and we have to respond immediately and treat this like the crisis that it is," said Adams, who is likely to become the city's next mayor.

He called on the city to target gun violence with a joint gangs and guns task force tightly coordinated among federal, state and city agencies and repeated his support for resurrecting a plainclothes police unit to hunt illegal guns.

The Republican nominee, Curtis Sliwa, called for expanding the Police Department's gang unit and database as well as providing more money to pay confidential informants.

Earlier in the day, the police released surveillance video of the gunmen and their accomplices and pleaded for the public's help to solve the crime.

Chief of Detectives James Essig said he was disturbed by what he saw as "a brazen, coordinated attack".

He said: "Two guys just stick their arms out, walk down a very crowded street at 10.30 at night, where there're parties going on, restaurants going on, crowded streets.

"After they fire at least 37 shots - that we know of - they calmly get on the back of the scooters and take off," he added. "So very brazen, to say the least."

All the victims were expected to survive, the chief said. There were no arrests in the shooting on Sunday afternoon, and police had not determined a motive.

The Queens shooting was one of six that police recorded on Saturday, with a total of 18 victims.

As at Saturday, the city had recorded 898 shootings, compared with 771 over the same period last year, an increase of more than 16 per cent. But shootings decreased for the second straight month last month, offering hope that the tide of violence that washed over the city during the COVID-19 pandemic is retreating.

The shooting in Queens involved a number of factors that have been present in recent shootings, including gang members, one or more guns, scooters, masks and injured bystanders, according to Essig.

"This is unacceptable on our streets of New York City, and it has to stop," he said.

The wounded bystanders were five men and two women, and the victims range in age from 19 to 72, according to the police. Most were struck in their legs or feet, and the youngest was shot in his right ear. The victim who was most seriously injured was a man who was shot in the stomach, police said.

They were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Centre and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, along with other hospitals, for treatment.

On Sunday afternoon, police tape cordoned off part of 37th Avenue as officers milled about and onlookers gathered. Storefront gates remained rolled down over restaurants, clothing stores and a laundromat on the strip.

At Dos Bros, a restaurant seen in surveillance video of the shooting, the glass from the front window was shattered and littered the sidewalk. Cars parked outside were riddled with bullet holes.

Essig said the police had recovered 40 shell casings and deformed bullets. He implored the public to help.

"The detectives still have a lot of work to do - interviews, canvasses, daylight searches, but we're asking for the public's help for any information they have on this," he said.

Ms. Lucia Jimenez, 43, was working behind the counter at Hernandez Meat Market on Saturday night when she heard a series of loud bangs that she initially assumed were fireworks. Only a windowless wall separated her from what she would later learn was the bullets just outside.

"I didn't imagine," she said on Sunday afternoon, occupying the same seat behind the counter at the supermarket, where she has worked for about four years. "Now I don't feel safe."

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