A 11-month-old girl shot and wounded by a stray bullet...

A 11-month-old girl shot and wounded by a stray bullet Wednesday night in the Bronx was the latest victim in New York City as violent crime has continued to spike so far in 2022. Credit: John Roca

An 11-month-old girl was shot in the face and critically wounded late Wednesday in the Bronx as she sat in a car with her mother, the NYPD said. The toddler is the latest, and youngest, victim of gun violence in New York City in 2022 — a new year picking up where the last one left off — with a spike in shootings.

The shooting also comes just a day after an NYPD officer was shot in the leg in the Bronx.

The child, who police did not immediately identify, was the victim of a stray bullet during an exchange of gunfire between gang members at the intersection of Valentine Avenue and 198th Street, the NYPD said.

She was listed in critical but stable condition at New York Prespyterian/Cornell Weill Medical Center, according to police.

When cops arrived at the scene Wednesday night, they found the mother outside the car, holding her wounded daughter, Deputy Chief Timothy McCormack said.

Moments before, an unidentified male had been chasing another on Valentine Avenue and fired two gunshots, McCormack said. One of the bullets struck the toddler in the car parked near Valentine Avenue and 198th Street as she sat with her mother.

The child's father was in a grocery store when the shooting started, McCormack said. No one else was hit by gunfire.

"This is completely unacceptable in our city," McCormack said, lamenting that the child was shot just a short time before her first birthday.

Some 1,300 firearms were taken off Bronx streets last year, said McCormack, adding: "This has got to stop."

The shooting in the Jerome Park section of the Bronx starkly underscored the rise in New York City gun violence over the past two years, and also served as a reminder that in 2022 — at least in the first three weeks — violent crime shows no signs of letting up.

On the campaign trail and since he took office Jan. 1, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has vowed to make violence a key focus of his administration. Adams and NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell have promised to roll out a plan to deal with gun violence but have not indicated when it will be released.

According to police data, city shootings climbed sharply in 2020 and 2021, topping out at the end of last year at more than a 100% jump above 2018. So far in 2022, shootings have increased 15.6% over the same period last year.

After a police officer in the Bronx was shot in the leg late Tuesday during a struggle with an armed 16-year-old boy, Adams said too many guns were on city streets and in the hands of young people.The officer wasn’t seriously wounded and left St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx on Wednesday, officials said. The 16-year-old suspect's handgun fired during the struggle, wounding both him and the officer, police said.

Charges against the teenager were pending, the NYPD said.

"There is a clear signal on the street, that it is alright to carry a gun in the City of New York," Adams said Tuesday night outside St. Barnabas, where both the cop and the suspect were being treated. "What is it going to take? What is it going to take before we begin to realize that we are endangering the lives of children to allow children to carry guns they are using on children."

Adams and NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell have promised to roll out a plan to deal with gun violence but have not indicated when they plan to unveil the details.

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