Police: Baby girl shot in face by stray bullet, hospitalized

January 21, 2022 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — An 11-month-old girl was in critical condition Thursday after being hit in the cheek by a stray bullet, police said, one of a string of high-profile crimes in the weeks since New York City Mayor Eric Adams took office promising a safer city.

Surveillance video released by police showed a man firing a gun as he chased another person through the streets of the Bronx. Police said the child, whose first birthday is Friday, was shot as she sat in a parked car with her mother.

“When you looked at the video it was a total disregard for the innocent people who are walking these streets,” Adams said at the shooting scene. “This is not the city our children should grow up in.”

Adams spoke after meeting the child’s parents at the hospital where she was taken Wednesday night.

“It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a police officer shot or if it’s a baby shot, I’m going to stay in these streets until this city is safe,” Adams said. “I’m not going to surrender this city to violence.”

Hours later, on Thursday morning, a narcotics detective was shot in the leg on Staten Island, the second time an NYPD officer was shot this week.

Adams, a former police captain who campaigned on a platform of prioritizing public safety, has been preoccupied with crimes since taking office, starting with the shooting of an off-duty police officer who was sleeping in a car between shifts on New Year’s Day, the Democrat’s first day as mayor.

Victims of violence during the past week included a 40-year-old woman who was shoved to her death in front of a subway train in Times Square on Saturday and a police officer who was shot during a struggle with a teenage gunman in the Bronx on Tuesday.

Then on Thursday, a police detective was wounded while he and other officers were executing a search warrant on Staten Island, police said.

Officers entered the home at 6 a.m. and and climbed the stairs. As they reached the second floor, the officers were fired on from inside a bedroom down the hall and one detective was struck in the leg, Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

“Even with a serious leg wound, bleeding badly enough that fellow officers had to apply immediate pressure to slow the blood loss, he held a ballistic shield in front of his team to protect them from gunfire,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

The officers returned fire, wounding the suspected gunman in the leg. Both the detective and the shooting suspect were expected to recover.

On Thursday afternoon, police officers responding to a 911 call about a burglary killed a man after he shot at them, officials said.

Shootings have increased during the coronavirus pandemic in New York City.

New York City saw around 490 homicides last year, just above the number in 2020. Historically speaking, that is still among the lowest number of killings in any given year since the 1950s, but it represents a significant spike following several years with an unusually low level of violent crime. The city only had around 300 killings in 2017 and 2018.

Some law enforcement officials have blamed a spike in shootings on criminal justice reform measures passed by New York’s state legislature, such as a measure that required courts to release nonviolent criminal defendants without requiring them to post bail.

“Because there are so many guns on the street, and the policies that are in place with bail reform are not working, the people of this city are unsafe,” Detectives Endowment Association president Paul DiGiacomo said at the Staten Island news conference.