NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search is on for the suspects behind a shooting that started with a robbery at a popular Upper East Side restaurant.
The restaurant, Philippe on East 60th Street and Madison Avenue, had been closed since Wednesday night when the shooting terrified diners and neighbors, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported Thursday.READ MORE: Roads Flood, Rivers Overflow As Nor'easter Dumps Heavy Rain During Morning Commute In New Jersey
Police said it started when two suspects approached people in the restaurant’s outdoor dining section.
“I came home probably about five minutes before it happened,” one neighbor told CBS2.
The woman said she heard a loud bang after 10 p.m. but didn’t think it was gunshots.
“It sounded like somebody dropping a pallet or something, which is pretty common when you have a lot of delivery trucks,” she said. “A couple minutes later we heard people saying, ‘Get inside the building.’ So we rushed over to the window and we saw that there was a lot of commotion going on outside.”
Video shows NYPD officers running toward the restaurant and blood scattered on the sidewalk.
🚨UPDATE: In regard to the active investigation in the vicinity of East 60th Street & Madison Avenue, there is one male victim being treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct) September 16, 2021
Surveillance video shows two masked men exit a car and walk toward the restaurant.
Police said the armed suspects approached separate outdoor tables and shouted, “This is a stick up.”
One suspect allegedly stole a Rolex watch from a 31-year-old man eating dinner with his wife. The other allegedly approached a 28-year-old who tried to stop him and grab his gun and was shot in the leg during the ensuing struggle.
Watch Jenna DeAngelis’ Report —
“We believe the patrons have no connection to another. One has an expensive Rolex watch. The two perpetrators come out, they go right to the tables that each individual was sitting at. So we believe it’s a robbery and it’s gonna be for high-end jewelries,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
Cameras captured people running down the street. Unfinished meals – and a gun – were left behind.
“A black 9 mm handgun with a shell casing lodged in the slot was recovered,” Essig said. “Thankfully, it was unable to be fired after that first round, or else other innocent people could have been injured.”
“We’re in the heart of Manhattan, and shootings here? Terrible, it’s terrible,” Upper East Side resident Nzo Ciancio said. “That’s a wonderful place, you can’t get a seat there.”
“No watch, no wallet is worth a life,” said Steve Diacos, who works in the neighborhood.
“It is very scary, especially if you’re eating here with your kids or your family,” Lily Dillaldo, who also works in the area, said.
Two medical professional happened to be eating at Philippe and jumped in to help.
“We went and tried to just apply whatever trauma training we have to just keep the patient stable until EMS was there to arrive,” said Akash Chandawarkar.
“Wrong place, wrong time. But we were happy to help out of course,” said Craig Fournier.
Police quickly arrived to the scene, but the suspects had already jumped into a black SUV and drove away with a third suspect behind the wheel.
“It’s disappointing, but you know what the sad thing is? I’m not sitting here going, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it,'” said Matthew Mu.
“It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did. But it’s also unfortunate that it’s not surprising,” another person said.
“I was living here in the early ’80s, and there was a lot of crime. It got a lot better,” said Bill Kuhel. “I hope they can improve the situation again.”
Thursday afternoon, the Democratic nominee for mayor, Eric Adams, stopped by the restaurant to meet with staff and have a meal, stressing that public safety will be vital to the city’s recovery.
“For someone to come by and attempt a robbery while you’re sitting down enjoying a meal is just unacceptable. It hurts the industry. It hurts our tourism,” Adams said.
CBS2’s Nick Caloway spoke to the shooting victim’s mother, Lisa Cooke.
“The guys ran up on him with the guns and he tried to defend himself and fought them off and got shot in the process,” she said.
Cooke is relieved her son, Melchior, is still alive. She says her son tried to grab the gun, a struggle ensued and he was shot in the leg.
“He crawled back into the restaurant with the gun, so that’s one less gun on the streets of New York City. And I’m proud of him,” she said.
She says her son is still in the hospital, resting, and is expected to be OK.
Police are using surveillance video and exploring similar patterns in the area to help get to the bottom of this.
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.MORE NEWS: Long Island Preparing For Potential Flooding, Power Outages As Winds Pick Up
CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge and Nick Caloway contributed to this report. Editor’s note: This story first appeared on September 16, 2021.