NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – There are new concerns about gun violence in New York City after two teenagers were gunned down Wednesday night at a Harlem restaurant.
“We heard like three shots. We had dinner just down the block. And I saw who, I guess, was the person who fired the shots around the corner and accelerated 117th, ”witness Amanda D’Archangelis told CBS2.
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The noise was enough to draw crowds to 116th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
“Pop, pop, pop. Very strong. Pop, pop, pop, ”D’Archangelis said. “Everyone stopped outside, everyone looked around, what’s going on? “
Officers interview someone of interest, who is also just a teenager.
As CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports, gun violence has become, for some, overwhelming.
“It’s, like, lawlessness right now,” said a woman named Melody.
Police say a 13-year-old boy was shot in the head. A 16-year-old was shot in the back.
Cops say they were the targets after an argument inside Mama’s Fried Chicken.
“It’s my community. This is where I live and my heart is broken because they are all little children. They are teenagers. None of them are really adults yet, ”said Melody.
Surveillance video captured the chaotic scene as people ran to safety. One of the victims could be seen tripping in the street, collapsing next to a trash can.
“It really shocks the community every time,” said Hector Zapata, a Harlem resident.
For Zapata, violence strikes close to home. He has a 16 year old daughter and a 12 year old son.
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“There has to be a way to reach teenagers, a way to reach their mindset, to change the way they think,” Zapata said.
There is also an effort to prevent this kind of shootings by reforming state law. This is a point on which the city council is focusing.
As part of that effort, several council members sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature calling for two things. The first is reforming state laws so that judges have the discretion to detain people caught with firearms, based on the current violent offense and criminal history. The second calls for a solution to the process which allows for the almost immediate release of those arrested for armed violence.
Meanwhile, in the community, people like Jessica Green say tensions are normal, but what has happened lately is not.
“I’m not saying fighting is good either. But no one wants to fight with their fists and continue on their way. Everyone wants to pull out a gun and shoot, and then you do that now, and I’m gonna do it. There’s a lot of back and forth, and it’s really sad, ”Green said.
She says that as a mother her worry is to feel obligated to keep her children at home to protect them.
Police said another person was killed overnight in Washington Heights. A 26-year-old man was shot several times in the back. So far, no arrests have been made.
The NYPD reports that to date there have been 1,224 shooting incidents with 1,437 casualties. The figures are quite worrying, but there have been several innocent young victims.
Last week in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, a 16-year-old was shot in the head in a park.
“I have to be strong for my daughter, but all I want to do is curl up and scream,” Kyla-Simone Sobers-Batties mother Nadine Sobers told CBS2.
Anyone with information about any of the shootings is urged to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to NYPDConseils Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.
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Kevin Rincon of CBS2 contributed to this report.