The NYPD will deploy counterterrorism officers to Times Square following the shooting of three bystanders Saturday, including a 4-year-old girl toy shopping with her family, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
Police are still searching for the gunman who opened fire shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of West 44 Street and Seventh Avenue, authorities said. The NYPD released surveillance video of a man walking away from the scene who police have described as a person of interest.
The shootings — in broad daylight, and as efforts to reopen scores of city offices, bars and restaurants closed during the pandemic continued — were stunning because of the random violence and unintended victims.
All of the victims have been released from the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery, de Blasio said during an online news briefing.
Calling the shooting "horrible and unacceptable," the mayor said an additional presence of Critical Response Command officers will be visible in Times Square.
"This kind of thing should not happen in our city and there’s a lot of ways we can address it," de Blasio said, calling on Congress to pass legislation preventing illegal guns from entering the city.
Hours after the shooting, video emerged of an NYPD cop from Central Islip carrying the injured child away from the crime scene. Calls to the officer, Alyssa Vogel, for comment Monday were not immediately returned.
In an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, Vogel said she did what needed to be done.
"As a mom, I think my motherly instincts went to … I need to help her," Vogel said. "This little girl is the strongest person I have ever seen. For somebody who has just been shot, she was just standing there, obviously scared, but she wasn't crying or anything."
NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller, in a tweet, lauded the officers who responded to the shootings.
"Whether they're rushing toward danger to help save a little girl or rushing home to their family after their tour this #MothersDay — the dedication of NY's Finest knows no bounds."
Other victims included Wendy Magrinat, 23, of Rhode Island, who told WNBC-TV the bullet ripped through her leg during a Mother’s Day trip to New York City.
Also injured was a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey who was shot in the foot. The 4-year-old girl, from Brooklyn, underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to her leg, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. None of the victims knew each other, police said.
An officer heard four to five shots in Times Square and cops found three shell casings, appearing to be .25-caliber, at the scene.
"We have … from numerous witnesses that a dispute occurred on the street involving at least two to four people," Shea said during a news conference Saturday night. "It is during this dispute that at least one person pulls out a gun."
Despite the violence, de Blasio said Monday, he did not expect the shootings to damage city tourism.
"In the end people want to come to the city," he said. "It’s an overwhelmingly safe city."