Three harrowing shootings near Manhattan schools sparked a crackdown by New York police Tuesday after two teenage students were injured in a span of five hours of gun violence, with police saying the attacks were gang-related.
“Right now, we are proceeding as if everything is connected,” said NYPD Patrol Chief John Chell in East Harlem, where two of the shootings occurred. “The proximity, the geography around the schools, the age of the victims. And now we have confirmed at least one incident, it is gang related.”
Bullets began flying when a escalating dispute on the Upper West Side left a student shot twice, and alert alerts from local residents led to the quick arrest of the shooter as he tried to flee in a taxi, police said.
The shootings were quickly followed by a second school-related shooting, with a 16-year-old and an innocent bystander gunned down in East Harlem just three hours later in front of the Harlem Renaissance School, where the suspect in the earlier Upper West Side incident was. . a student, the sources said.
And the latest incident occurred at 105th St and Park Ave., with four casings found at the scene but no reports of injuries near a third school.
“We will be calling in various resources from other counties and deploying to the areas to the best of our ability to slow this down,” Chell said. “This increase will continue … and we will go into school arrival and dismissal (Wednesday).”
Chell declined to go into detail about gang involvement in the three shootings.
The first teen victim was at the corner of Amsterdam Ave. and W. 68th St. on the Upper West Side when he was shot around 9:50 a.m. after an unspecified fight between four or five youths that quickly turned violent, Chell said in her first appearance of the day.
Police sources said the victim and suspect Cheick Coulibalys, 19, were once classmates, and Chell recounted how the argument began outside a coffee shop before escalating onto the street. Three bullets were fired, two of which struck the victim in the abdomen.
The bleeding 17-year-old, a student on the Martin Luther King Jr. High School campus, ran two blocks to the school for help as police detained the suspect a block from the shooting after he hailed a cab. yellow, police said. saying.
“There was a woman screaming at the top of her lungs, terrified,” an employee at a nearby business told the Daily News. “She looked terrified, and I think that got everyone’s attention.
“And then three shots were fired: pop, pop, pop. After a few minutes, the police cars came down like crazy.”
Another witness described two women helping the wounded young man up from the ground after the shooting.
A 9mm. The pistol was recovered from the suspect, according to a source. The NYPD was quick to handcuff the defendant due to multiple 911 calls from local residents after the shooting, according to Chell.
“This was really New York City working together to get a shooter off the streets,” said Chell, who credited the callers with providing an accurate description of the suspect.
The shooter was out on bail for an armed robbery in 2021 and had a couple of arrests this year for drug sales, Chell said.
In the incident later Tuesday, the 16-year-old victim and a 27-year-old man were shot in the legs on the corner outside the East Harlem school shortly before 1 p.m. by the shooter, police said. Both victims were taken to Harlem Hospital for treatment.
The daily news flash
Catch up on the top five stories of the day every weekday afternoon.
“I heard five shots,” said a worker at a neighborhood store. “The person who was shot in the corner can’t move. His friends come to help him. … This happens in a year, three, four, five times. This is a bad street.”
The victim in the first shooting was rushed by EMS to New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell and was expected to survive.
“We heard three shots,” said a worker at a nearby beauty salon. “Then I saw walking and running on the sidewalk, and someone yelled. It was a lady with a baby in a stroller. She screamed, and then she was walking fast, pushing the stroller.”
The response to the shooting caused the Martin Luther King High School campus, as well as LaGuardia High School, which is also located on Amsterdam Avenue a block away, to “shelter in,” meaning students could walk freely in the school, but they could not exit.
“It’s so close to our school,” a 15-year-old girl, a 10th grade student, said with concern.
The security measure was lifted at 11 am and the students were able to circulate freely.
The shootings came a day after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death in a park across the street from his Queens high school, police said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition and did not cooperate with police. No arrests were made in the case, which authorities did not link to the Manhattan shooting.