NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 16-year-old boy was charged Sunday night, the night after a shooting at the Bryant Park ice skating rink that left two people wounded and the ice splattered with blood.
Corey Dunton of the Bronx was charged as an adult with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon, police told CBS 2 Sunday night.
Sources told 1010 WINS the suspect has a prior criminal history, including arrests for robberies.
The shooter opened fire after he demanded that one of the victims give up his Marmot coat, police said.
The gunfire rang out around 11 p.m. Saturday. A 14-year-old boy identified as Adonis Mera was hit in the back and a 20-year-old man — identified in reports as Javier Contreras — was struck in the arm. They were taken to Bellevue Hospital, police said.
Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, but the teen, who was struck in the back, may be paralyzed, according to multiple published reports quoting his family. Police believe he was an innocent bystander.
The two victims were taken away in ambulances with their ice skates still on, witnesses said. More than 200 people were at the rink when the shooting happened.
Police had been looking for a black male with dreadlocks who was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. He was believed to have been targeting the older victim for the coat.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, the shooting alarmed the many visitors to the civilized urban pastime as it was violently interrupted by the gunman on skates.
Witnesses said they heard three shots fired, and then people ran for cover in nearby tents and at holiday shopping booths — some still wearing their skates.
“I think at first, it was a little bit of a lull, like ‘Was that gunshot?'” a witness told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern. “And then all of a sudden, you hear over the employees’ radios, ‘Shots fired.’ And everyone, it was just a stampede. It was everyone for themselves.”
“All of a sudden you heard, bop, bop, bop — three shots,” said Frank Frachi of Queens.
“People were pushing each other — somebody kicked somebody to get out of the way,” said Joe Feliciano of Queens.
“All of a sudden, we turn around, and there are people running towards us,” said Abraham Boyd of Harlem.
“People were hiding in the bathroom,” Dina Nordelin, another witness, told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “People were exiting out with their skates on. I mean, not everyone was in the skating rink yet. Security was trying to get everyone out.”
Earlier in the evening, Mera had posted on his own Facebook page, “Ice skating – catch me at Bryant Park,” complete with a picture of his skates.
The suspect demanded that the older victim hand over his jacket, sources told CBS 2 News. When that did not work, the suspect left the rink, and then returned with a gun, and opened fire once back out on the ice.
In Morningside Heights Sunday night, old friends of the seriously wounded teenager were visibly shaken by news of the gunfire on ice.
“He’s always been a good kid. He don’t get into no trouble. He likes to skate,” said Juan Morales.
And on Sunday night, the Bryant Park ice skating rink was open once again, though the shadow of the shooting lingered.
“Especially knowing there’s, like, little kids there and families shopping,” said Marlene Gonzalez of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The rink was reopened Sunday morning, but traces of blood could still be seen on the ice.
As the investigation continued, Bryant Park tried to reassure visitors that the Winter Village was safe.
“Our hearts go out to the wounded and their families, and to those who were at the park during that time,” park officials said in a Facebook post. “We are cooperating fully with authorities, who agree that it is safe to reopen.”
Joe Carella, a spokesman for Bryant Park Corp., the not-for-profit company that privately manages the park, said there were about 300 people on the ice at the time of the shooting. Earlier, park officials released a statement saying the incident is extremely out of the ordinary.
But many in the area said they are in disbelief at the brazen act committed in such a public place.
“Everybody wants to come out here and have a good time, and that’s the last thing you expect,” one man told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “I expect to come with my daughter here and have her skate, and that’s the last thing you want to happen.”
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