The kind of violence that has become so commonplace in some of New York’s neighborhoods moved into the heavily touristed Times Square on Saturday afternoon, with a shooting that wounded three people visiting the city along with throngs of other people.
Wendy Magrinat, 23, was there from Rhode Island with her husband and 2-year-old daughter, meeting her mother and 7-year-old sister, up from Florida for a Mother’s Day celebration.
Marcela Aldana, 43, came down from Passaic, New Jersey, for a day in the city.
And 4-year-old Skye Martinez was excitedly waiting to get into the Line Friends store to see the latest toy selection, brought to Manhattan by her family from Brooklyn.
Magrinat told the New York Post the argument that led to the gunfire took place “practically next to me,” prompting her to urge her husband, who was holding their daughter, to move further away.
“Everything was so fast, but the shooting started — and the first shot went to my leg,” she said.
The young mother, who was also at the Line Friends store, said her first thoughts were for her daughter. “I was literally screaming on the floor, ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I have a 2-year-old,’” she told the New York Daily News. “When I got shot I told my husband to run because he had my baby girl.”
She was rushed to a hospital, where a medical team was waiting. But the team told her they weren’t going to remove the bullet from her thigh because they feared they do more damage. She returned home to Rhode Island after treatment. “So I live with a bullet in my leg,” she said. “I’m on a lot of painkillers but the pain never goes away.”
Aldana was shot in the foot and is expected to have surgery later on to remove the bullet lodged there. She did not speak with New York media outlets.
Four-year-old Skye Martinez had surgery Saturday night to repair damage to her leg. The shot was a through-and-through, her 16-year-old aunt, who asked not to be identified, told the Daily News.
“It didn’t hit any important bones because they did the X-rays to check,” the aunt said. “But they did a full cleaning to make sure she doesn’t get any infection or anything like that. There’s no bullet fragment. They didn’t see anything left. It didn’t break, it just entered and then exited.”
“She’s pretty tough I guess. She’s always been happy. It’s really hard to see her upset because she’s usually playing around.”
Police were still investigating the shooting on Sunday, and no arrests have been made. Investigators released a surveillance video and still images showing a man they believe is the suspect, and the Post said they’d learned from law enforcement sources that the alleged gunman is a 31-year-old illegal CD peddler who was shooting at his brother when he hit the three tourists.
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[Featured image: Times Square scene just after the shooting/Fire Department of New York]