NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 5-year-old boy was described as being in “grave” condition Monday night, after being struck in the head by a bullet in the Bronx.
Sources said Monday was the child’s birthday.
Around 5 p.m., the boy was shot once in the head in front of 1138 Washington Ave., near 167th Street, in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, NYPD Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen, Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Bronx.
“The child had just finished visiting his father and was being walked to a waiting car in front of 1138 Washington Avenue,” Nikunen said. “At the same time, a male Hispanic in his 20s fired at least four shots at an unidentified male black.”
Sources told 1010 WINS the shooting was the result of bad blood between two locals who finally crossed paths, pulled guns, and fired at each other. One of the shots struck the boy, police said.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, neighbors said they know the victim.
“I normally just see him playing outside in front of the store,” said Lucy Victorino. “It’s scary — like I said mostly scary because it’s a little kid.”
Just hours after the incident, police took a man into custody – calling him a person of interest in the case.
Investigators scoured the area for evidence and used small orange cones to mark the spot where the little boy was hit near the sidewalk.
Neighbors said they are devastated by the violence, but said it happens all too often.
“If police presence was over here as often as it should be, trust me, this would not happen,” said Helen Davis.
Davis has lived in the area for nine years, and said her family lives in constant fear.
“Children should not have to worry about coming outside and playing, or worry about being shot, hurt or otherwise, but unfortunately on this block, that’s how we all feel,” she said.
Late Monday, neighbors were just hoping for the best.
“I’m praying for him, and I’m going to light a candle and hope that that baby makes it,” Davis said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the incident on Twitter Monday evening.
“Absolutely heartbreaking,” the mayor wrote. “The city’s prayers are with him and the doctors working to save his life.”
Police said late Monday night that they did not know if the motive was gang-related.