NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police have stepped up their presence, and a teenager has made a court appearance for attempted murder in connection with the shooting of a 5-year-old girl in the Bronx.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the suspect, Angel Morales, 18, has been before a judge before.
Hailey Dominguez was shot in the abdomen at around 1 a.m. Sunday in the courtyard of a building at 1997 Hughes Ave., in the Tremont section of the Bronx. She was returning with her mother from a baby shower at the time.
“She’s a beautiful angel, a blessing,” said Calvin Pimentel, a relative of Hailey’s. “She was everything, used to play games with me.”
Pimentel is also acquainted with Morales, of the 600 block of East 179th Street in the Bronx, who was charged with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting.
Police said Morales fired at a man after a dispute. One bullet struck Hailey, narrowly missing her spinal cord.
As Hailey recovered in intensive care at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on Monday, Morales made a brief court appearance. It was at least the third time this year Morales went before a judge.
In April, he was charged with assault, and in October with marijuana possession.
“To me, I never thought he’d pull a move like that, like I said,” Pimentel said. “I didn’t think he was that type of person to possess a gun like that, or possess anything that would do any damage like that.”
Community activist Sidney Flores said a shooting happened in the same location last year.
“That’s a shame. I was here for a shooting last year and they didn’t have these cameras up,” Flores said. “So hopefully these cameras that are up today will catch somebody.”
Another neighbor who also has a 5-year-old daughter said the community has seen a recent uptick in gun violence that has her concerned.
“Oh God no, that’s incredible,” the woman told 1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels Sunday. “Everything is about drugs.”
Police said in this case, they received good cooperation from the community. Witnesses quickly identified Morales as the shooter, and he was arrested just hours after the shooting.
As of Monday evening, Hailey was in stable condition with serious injuries to her stomach and liver. Police said they searched the suspect’s apartment and found hundreds of rounds of ammunition, as well as a supply of marijuana.
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