new york –
A 15-year-old man accused of shooting a Brazilian tourist in the leg in Times Square on Thursday night and then firing at a police officer as he fled was arrested Friday in a New York City suburb, police said.
Nearly 24 hours after the shooting that began at a sporting goods store and spilled onto a busy street in midtown Manhattan, the boy was taken into custody at a home in Yonkers that police believe may have ties to the family.
At a press conference announcing the arrests Friday night, New York City Police Commissioner Edward Caban said it was “an absolute miracle” that no one was seriously injured in the shooting.
“In the middle of one of the busiest and busiest neighborhoods in this city, a criminal with a firearm decided to pull the trigger,” Caban said.
Hours earlier, police identified the suspect as a resident of a Manhattan immigrant shelter who arrived in New York from Venezuela late last year. Police said the suspect is considered a suspect in an armed robbery in the Bronx and another shooting in Times Square last month.
Police said the gunman, dressed all in white, and two teenage classmates were shoplifting jackets from a store just after 7 p.m. when a security guard demanded to see the receipt.
When the trio failed to produce the goods, the guards took them back. That’s when the boy allegedly pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and fired at her. The bullet didn’t hit the worker, but it did hit a 38-year-old tourist who was lining up to buy sneakers.
The gunman and one of the other teens with him then fled into a tourist center. Four blocks away, on his 47th Street, near the triangular Times Square pedestrian plaza where visitors line up to buy Broadway tickets and take selfies with the area’s iconic sign. , two officers quickly located the pair and took the second person into custody.
The suspect fled toward Sixth Avenue, and one of the officers pursued him, at one point cutting between buildings. There, the man turned him around and fired at officers, police said.
“The officer drew his weapon. He cannot fire a shot,” New York City Police Department Sergeant John Chell said at a news conference Thursday night. “There are too many people around, and too many people are running away.”
The boy shot himself again in the armpit and continued to flee, running into a subway station. Surveillance video showed him heading toward the railroad tracks and then back onto the street, Chell said.
It’s unclear whether the boy has an attorney or anyone else who can speak on his behalf. Prosecutors typically say the person is not identified until arraignment, which has not yet occurred.
Police said they spoke to hundreds of people and obtained strong surveillance photos of the alleged gunman leading up to his arrest Friday afternoon.
In an interview with NBC, tourist Tatiere Ribeiro Lemos recalled the “terrifying moment” he realized he had been shot.
“After I started checking my health, I looked at my legs and saw blood dripping down, but I managed to stay calm,” she said in Portuguese. “I think it was just an unfortunate incident. It could happen anywhere in the world.”
She received 13 stitches for the wound at a local hospital, NBC reported.
The shooting came on the heels of another high-profile incident in Times Square where a scuffle broke out between immigrants and police.
Overall, New York City’s crime rate has fallen significantly since spiking at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of people shot in the city decreased by 39% from 2022 to 2023.
Once one of New York’s most seedy locations, synonymous with porn theaters and sex work, Times Square experienced a revitalization in the 1990s, transforming it into one of the city’s most family-friendly destinations . Most nights it’s crowded with tourists and street performers, but it still attracts pickpockets and hustlers who take advantage of out-of-towners.
Chell said Times Square remains safe for visitors.
“Look around you. There are thousands of people shopping and walking around,” he said. “We are still the safest city in the world.”