NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The investigation into a shooting that critically injured an 8-year-old girl continued Tuesday after charges against a man arrested in connection to the crime were dropped.
27-year-old Jermaine Larmon was awaiting arraignment when the several charges, including attempted murder, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a firearm, were thrown out.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Altercation In Restaurant Spills Out Onto Street
CBS2 obtained video that shows an altercation taking place in a nearby Popeyes restaurant that preceded the shooting. Two different groups of men are seen fighting in the establishment before the mob spills outside.
“A bunch of kids were here in Popeyes punching each other,” owner Nasery Rauf told CBS2’s Reena Roy. “I started chasing them out from the store and the fight started outside more.”
Police said one of the individuals involved in the fight then fired several rounds at members of the opposing group. One of the stray bullets struck the little girl, who was sitting in a van at the corner of East 83rd Street and Flatlands Avenue.
VIDEO: Emergency Responders Help Girl After Shooting
“I heard the noise from the gun and suddenly the van was there and it hit the van window,” Rauf said. “The window was big hole there, and she was sitting right there.”
Rauf says the girl was unconscious by the time authorities arrived.
Cellphone video shows the girl being assessed by EMTs. A hole in the van window marks the entry point. The young girl was one block from home when she was hit, the bullet just missing her brain.
“It could’ve been another way,” neighbor Joan Gordon said. “Only God, thank Jesus she is alive.”
The young girl was rushed from the scene to Brookdale Hospital where she was stable Tuesday. Her family surrounding her while those who know her are in disbelief.
“Tears came from my eyes, my husband couldn’t talk,” said Gordon.
Police say it was unfortunate timing. The van she was riding in was stopped at a red light when investigators say Larmon started firing a gun.
“One of those bullets struck the rear driver’s side window and struck the 8-year-old female,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Commanding Officer Frank Giordano.
Police were still trying to track down six people involved in the melee, all of whom are believed to be in their teens or early 20s. Meanwhile, those who knew the victim are just thankful she’ll likely make a full recovery.
“It’s very sad,” Canarsie resident Denise Rodriguez said. “She’s a nice little girl, the parents also.”
Charges against Larmon were dropped late Tuesday as the investigation into the shooting continued.