NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Saturday evening had identified a person of interest in a shooting that wounded a 9-year-old girl in the Bronx a night earlier, as she played with her little brother outside their building.
Police want to talk with Billy James Jr., 17, whose photo they released Saturday night. No further information about James was released.
Earlier, officers combed the streets near Bailey Avenue and 233rd Street, in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, for clues after a girl was struck in the torso by bullets fired by a shooter who apparently cruised through the neighborhood on a bike.
The suspect fired several shots,one of which struck the victim, he fled southbound on Broadway on a bicycle, according to authorities.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, a Little League ball game was going on nearby when the boy rode his bike past the scene and opened fire. He fired at least half a dozen times in the direction of the building where children were playing.
“She was playing in the parking lot with her little brother and some people in the bicycle just came out of nowhere shooting people,” said Kingsbridge resident Isamarie Brown.
Joy Torres was at her son’s Little League game when the gunfire erupted, and said parents and children at the ballfield took cover – led by coaches said to be off-duty police officers.
“Somebody said get down, and that’s when they threw the kids out of the field ran them into the dugout,” Torres said.
Some brave bystanders gave chase as the young suspect raced away.
“My mom was standing out here. She said, ‘The shooter! that’s him!’” one bystander said. “She saw him drive down this block on the bike.”
But the suspect got away, as the parents of the 9-year-old shooting victim put the little girl into their car and rushed her to North Central Bronx Hospital. She was then taken to the trauma center at Jacobi Hospital where she was stabilized.
“It’s sad. She’s like my little sister,” one young friend said. “When I heard, I started crying. I couldn’t stop.”
Sidney Flores, a local activist, reminded people there is a reward for information about the shooter.
“I wish that the government could stop the guns coming in from our highways,” Flores said, “because that’s where they’re coming from – from out of state.”
Sources told 1010 WINS the suspect had a run-in with someone the night before and came back for revenge. It is believed he fired his 9mm handgun six times and rode away down a side street.
Police said the suspect was a black male last seen wearing a white t-shirt, dark shorts, and riding a BMX bicycle.
Another person of interest has been questioned and released.
A $22,000 reward has been offered in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the assault.
The shooting is the latest in a string of incidents that have turned innocent children into the victims of gun violence. In May Deja Robinson, 14, was shot and killed while riding a Q-6 Bus home from a sweet sixteen party in South Jamaica.
Two weeks ago Tayloni Mazyck, 11, was paralyzed from the neck down, by a stray bullet in Bedford Stuyvesant.
Anybody with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.
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