New York City officials on Monday said detectives are searching for the suspect who has been accused of shooting an innocent bystander who was visiting Times Square with his family over the weekend.
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio addressed the incident at a press briefing on Monday, saying the shooting at the tourist hotspot was “absolutely unacceptable.”
“This is a place that is so precious and so important to our city, it has to be safe,” the mayor said as he announced the new safety protocols.
The mayor announced a new safety plan, called the Times Square Safety Action Plan, which includes an additional 50 NYPD officers, both visible and undercover, in the Times Square area while also increasing the enforcement of illegal vending related to gun violence. The plan put in place will be active immediately.
“After this shooting and the shooting that we had a couple of weeks ago, it is important that we put a lot more of a police presence over there,” NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said during the briefing.
During the latest shooting that happened around 5 p.m. on Sunday, the gunman-at-large is accused of shooting Samuel Poulin, a 21-year-old man from upstate New York who was visiting Manhattan with his family.
Poulin was grazed by a bullet that struck him in the back. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Harrison noted at the briefing that the shooting was not targeted and occurred after a group of panhandlers selling CDs got into a conflict, adding that this information is after a preliminary investigation and officials are still working to “get to the bottom of” what exactly happened.
He added they are “making sure we’re not just having the omnipresence out there, but we’re going to make sure we engage the individuals that are part of this aggressive solicitation, aggressive panhandling.”
The NYPD also released a surveillance photo of the suspect, who was seen in the video brandishing a weapon in the city’s Times Square area. The department added there is a reward of $3,500 offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
????WANTED for ASSAULT: Do you know this guy? On 6/27/21 at approx 5:15 PM, in the vicinity of 45th St and 7th Ave in Manhattan, the suspect discharged a firearm, striking a 21-year-old male bystander in the back. Any info? DM @NYPDTips, or anonymously call them at 800-577-TIPS. pic.twitter.com/VdJtVcwapA
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 28, 2021
Sunday’s incident happened close to the site of a shooting last month that wounded two women and a toddler.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told a press conference that the victims—a four-year-old girl from Brooklyn, a 23-year-old woman from Rhode Island, and a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey—were “innocent bystanders” unrelated to one another.
NYPD Detectives Chief James Essig confirmed several days after the May 8 shooting that Farrakhan Muhammad was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in a McDonald’s parking lot near Jacksonville, Florida.
According to the New York Post, Muhammad has a criminal record stretching back to 2007, including two felony robbery arrests and a 2012 weapons arrest.