Two days after a five-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl in the Bronx were nearly shot as they were caught in the middle of gunfire, Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral candidate Eric Adams offered $2,000 of his own money for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
“I’m not going back to the days where our babies were waking up to gunshots and not alarm clocks, where we normalize violence in the inner city,” Adams said at a news conference on Saturday outside the Mt. Eden bodega where a gunman opened fire on Thursday. “We can’t be silent.”
The reward would be lumped with a $3,500 reward already being offered by Crimestoppers. The shooting was captured on surveillance video and comes as gun violence has increased across parts of New York City, making public safety a lightning rod issue as voters head to the polls. Adams was flanked by Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., both of whom are supporting Adams’ mayoral run.
Diaz asked why anyone would shoot at “our babies — a ten-year-old and a five-year-old — our babies within inches of their attempted target,” he said. “What makes you so freaking angry? Have we gone mad as a society? Have we totally lost it?”
Other mayoral candidates expressed dismay over the shooting. At a joint news conference on Saturday in Manhattan, mayoral candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia, said solutions are needed to reduce the level of gunfights New Yorkers are experiencing.
“This cannot be happening in the streets of New York,” Garcia said. Her public safety platform involves the removal of 10,000 guns off the streets in the first year of office if elected. She’s pushing for greater gun buyback programs.
“Tough talk alone won’t keep our children safe — we need immediate action and I’m the candidate who delivers on her promises,” Garcia said.
Yang, whose poll numbers have decreased as he’s taken a hard-line stance on crime in New York City, said.
“We have to turn this around as quickly as possible,” Yang said. He’s calling for an increase in police manpower at precincts that are experiencing an increase in gun violence. “As a parent, as a New Yorker, that video shocked and horrified me.”
The incident happened just before 7 p.m. Thursday. Video surveillance shows the two children walking near the bodega when a man dressed in red collides with the 10-year-old girl as he’s being chased by a gunman wearing a black mask. As the girl, boy, and victim scramble on the ground in close proximity, the man in the black mask shoots toward the man in red. As the boy panics, he’s grabbed by the girl, who shields him from shots. No one is hit as bullets ricochet off the sidewalk. The masked shooter, who was reportedly with an accomplice who shouts “kill him, kill him,” takes off.
The Daily News reports that the shooting may be gang-related, but the mother of the intended target told the paper she does not believe her son is part of a gang.
Statistics from the NYPD show major crime increased 4.79% compared to the same time a year ago. Shootings have gone from 97 incidents in 2020 to 211 the same time a year ago, an increase of 117%. There have been 243 victims of shootings so far this year compared to 108 the same time a year ago, an increase of 125%, according to the statistics.
Ruth Burrison, a 40-year resident in the neighborhood, has witnessed the “ups and downs” of the neighborhoods, but feels unsafe lately.
“This thing that’s happening in the Bronx and all the boroughs with the shooting, we can’t–we don’t have a handle on it; no one has a handle on it,” Burrison, who lives near where the shooting occurred, said.
Burrison—who initially mistook the gunshots for fireworks—said that the next mayor should bring some control to the neighborhood. She said she’s planning on visiting the NYPD’s Community Affairs unit.
Adams straddled the line between enforcement and providing social services to those who may be vulnerable to joining a gang. He said that the lack of services in the community has led to people joining gangs and destroying the safety of the neighborhood for kids.
“We betrayed them because as a city we created an atmosphere where young people can grow up and believe that violence is the way,” Adams said. “You can get a gun in our community faster than you can get a COVID vaccination. That’s the city we live in.”
He’s calling for more violence interrupters—often former gang members who try to quell retaliatory attacks—who often don’t get the respect they should be getting at hospitals.
“Sometimes the violence interrupters will show up at the hospitals to try to deescalate the violence and they’re not giving the right reception,” Adams said. “And many of the police commanders don’t embrace this whole concept of violence interrupters. We need the right commanders, the right hospitals, the right internal agencies to collaborate together. We’re not doing that now.”