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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Diners in a Bronx community ran for cover as shots rang out Thursday afternoon.
A bloodied shirt, deserted stands, and plenty of police were part of the aftermath of a broad daylight double shooting involving an ordained minister just blocks from Yankee Stadium.
The incident happened in the shadows of the ballpark on East 161st Street and Gerard Avenue, near the Crown Diner, around 1:30 p.m.
Witnesses said a man dressed in a suit and straw hat, later identified by police as Horace Coleman, shot two victims before dropping his gun and putting his hands up. He was then quickly arrested by court officers in the area who were on their lunch break, CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey reported.
Witnesses said the shooting occurred following a dispute between food cart vendors who were arguing over a spot. Investigators said the alleged shooter owns a water stand in the concourse area.
Patricia Perez and Anne Davis said they were inside the diner scared out of their minds.
“Everyone was having lunch and all of a sudden we heard like four pops — pop pop pop — and everyone started running,” Perez said.
“When I heard the pop, I hit for the bathroom. I was running for cover,” Davis added.
The shooting took place right outside the diner door, police said.
“He turned around and shot the man in the newsstand, then he turned around and shot down the block, a couple of bullets. I don’t know whether he hit somebody. They say he hit another person. Then he turned back, leaned over the man in the newsstand, and shot him again,” witness Debbie Haughton said.
“I could see the guy, I heard the shot. I looked over there — point-blank he was shooting this guy at least four times,” one street merchant told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
As the bullets flew, so did the diner’s customers, some fleeing to the back, others to the window to see outside.
“I saw the shooter running up the block with a gun in his hand,” witness Peter Katsihtis said.
Katsihtis said one of his customers, a man in an orange shirt, had just left his diner after a meal when he became a victim.
“He was telling me ‘Help me! Help me! I can’t breathe!’ and I noticed he was shot, a lot of blood on his body,” he said.
Police told 1010 WINS’ Jones a 41-year-old man was shot multiple times and is in critical condition, while a 60-year-old was shot in the torso. The shooting victims were transported to Lincoln Hospital.
One of the victims reportedly underwent surgery.
On Thursday night, Coleman’s family visited the precinct where he was being held and said the ordained minister had to have been pushed to the edge to ever use a weapon.
“He doesn’t curse. He doesn’t fight. He doesn’t to get in confrontations,” said Mickey Bentson, the suspect’s cousin. “It had to be him protecting himself in order to get out of that situation.”
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