Investigators said she was not the intended target, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
Police packed the 11th floor at the Patterson Houses in the Mott Haven section of the borough, where the girl was shot. The terrifying moment was witnessed by her mother and a male friend.
Neighbors said they couldn’t believe it. One woman named Paula was asked if she feels safe in her own home.
“And you’re not. It’s extremely terrible and I feel for the family right now, especially the mom,” she said.
Police said the child’s mother, who was seen returning home from the hospital with detectives, said a man she didn’t know barged into her apartment at around 9 a.m. and fired a single shot that struck her daughter in the abdomen.
Pedro Roman was working construction outside and said he saw a man carrying the injured child to a car.
“All I know is that he was running, with the child in his hands. I mean, even when they took of they whacked my van and took off,” said witness Pedro Roman. “To see a parent holding a child like that, it’s nerve racking.”
“The NYPD received a 911 call from Lincoln Hospital stating that an 8-year-old female child had been brought into the emergency department suffering from a gunshot wound to her abdomen,” NYPD Chief of Housing David Berrere said.
Police said the girl, her mother and a man were the only three people in the apartment, but they don’t know yet if the family was targeted.
“We have no indication on motive at all right now,” Berrere said.
Police are still searching for the gunman. The uncertainty has many people living in the building feeling unsafe, including Nelly McKay, who lost her teenage grandson to gun violence in this neighborhood in 1968.
“We was taught only the policeman, law enforcement, is supposed to have guns, not people running around shooting like it’s the Wild Wild West. We’re living in the Wild Wild West here,” McKay said.
“They have to transfer me out of here. I don’t want to stay here no more,” neighbor Tawanna Moore added.
Police said they are reviewing surveillance video trying to identify the gunman. The 8-year-old remains at Lincoln Hospital, but CBS2 was told she is expected to make a full recovery.
The shooting comes amid a spike in gun violence across New York City.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.