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Gunman riding scooter in Queens kills 1 person and injures 3 others in back-to-back ‘random’ shootings, New York police say

Jul 8, 2023, 5:00 PM

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The Montana Highway Patrol said a chain reaction crash began Sunday, Jan. 7, when a jackknifed semi blocked traffic, due to inclement weather. (Canva)

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(CNN) — One person died and three others were wounded Saturday in a string of shootings in Brooklyn and Queens that New York police described as ‘random’ shootings.

A gunman riding an illegal scooter without a license plate opened fire at five different locations in Jamaica, a neighborhood in the Queens borough, and in Brooklyn, according to the New York Police Department.

A 25-year-old man was taken into custody and found with a 9mm pistol with an extended magazine, police said during a news conference Saturday afternoon.

“We don’t know the motive. It seems that this is actually random,” said Joseph Kenny, the assistant chief in the NYPD’s Detective Bureau. “At this time, video shows that he’s not targeting anybody, he’s not following anybody. As he’s driving on his scooter, he’s randomly shooting people.”

Police said all four victims were men.

The five shootings unfolded over about a half an hour and began around 11:10 a.m. in Brooklyn, Kenny said at the news conference. A 21-year-old man was shot once in the left shoulder, he said.

He was transported to a hospital and is expected to survive. Authorities found a 9-millimeter shell casing at the scene, Kenny said.

After the first shooting, detectives accessed video that showed the suspect approaching the victim from behind on a scooter and firing one shot, police said.

Seventeen minutes later – at 11:27 a.m. – police say the same suspect fired a gun at an 87-year-old man in Queens.

The victim, who was shot once in the back, died after being taken to a hospital, Kenny said.

When officers arrived at the scene, they learned of another shooting incident in which no one was struck by gunfire. But numerous witnesses reported seeing a man riding a scooter “randomly firing at a group of people,” Kenny said.

The fourth shooting happened at 11:35 a.m. when a 44-year-old man was shot in the cheek, Kenny said. The man was hospitalized and is in critical condition.

Less than a minute later, the suspect shot a 63-year-old man in his right shoulder, Kenny said. The victim was hospitalized and is in stable condition, police said.

Police said the gunman used the same weapon in all five shooting incidents. The suspect had one prior arrest in New York City, according to Kenny.

NYPD Acting Commissioner Edward Caban said officers were able to find and arrest the suspect by quickly distributing an image of him to all nearby NYPD officers, asking them to be on the lookout for the shooter.

Authorities say they have not found a serial number on the gun and are investigating whether the firearm was defaced or might be a ghost gun.

In addition to the weapon possibly being illegal, extended magazines are also against the law in New York.

New York City has grappled with crime spikes since the pandemic. NYPD statistics from last year showed a 42.7% rise in major crimes through April 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, CNN previously reported. Data shows murder rates were up by 9.2% over the two-year period.

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Gunman riding scooter in Queens kills 1 person and injures 3 others in back-to-back ‘random’ shootings, New York police say