A shooting in Crown Heights shattered the back of a Lyft and narrowly missed hitting the passenger on Tuesday. "Nothing like a bullet whizzing by your head to make you appreciate your life," passenger Collin Morris observed after the near-death experience.
Morris, 27, was on his way home in a shared Lyft around 9 p.m. on Tuesday when the incident happened. The car was traveling on Nostrand Avenue near Sterling Place when the shooting occurred.
"I was the first passenger and sat in the seat behind the passenger side, and when we picked up the next passenger, I scooted over to the seat behind the driver—we dropped [the other passenger] off in Bed Stuy," Morris recounted. "Then the first two shots happened [and] sounded like fireworks. Neither the driver or I registered yet what was happening until the third shot came through the back window and lodged in the headrest of the front passenger seat. I felt the bullet close to my head so I immediately ducked. There were five shots total in my recollection and at least two hit the car. When we saw what had happened, I realized that had I remained in my original seat, the bullet would have hit me in the head."
"I don't know what was happening outside because I was texting when the shots were fired and immediately ducked so I didn't have a read on my surroundings," he added. "[The driver] Jiahang says there were two cars behind us following a guy who was running on foot. Our car was in the way. I don't believe either of us were targets."
According to an NYPD release, there was a shooting on Nostrand Avenue in that area around 10:45 p.m., in which two men fired several shots at one another, injuring a 25-year-old male bystander in the left shoulder. (The victim was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition.) The press office could not confirm whether this was the same shooting.
Lauren Alexander, a spokesperson for Lyft, told us, "The situation described is truly frightening. The safety of our community has always been our top priority and we have reached out to both the passenger and the driver to offer our support."
As for Morris, who works as an assistant in an art lawyer's office while acting and doing stand-up comedy on the side, this was a life-changing event: "After we pulled over and called 911, I couldn't stop laughing (we all have unique reactions to shock) but I felt genuinely happy," he said. "Lighter. Free. It was as if such a close brush with death helped me forget all the stupid things I generally worry about. I have struggled with depression most of my 20s and this event is honestly better than any drug I've ever taken."
"The feeling will wear off eventually I'm sure, but I do feel profoundly changed. Gun violence is senseless and horrible and I heard from one of the cops that night that someone was in the hospital from this barrage of bullets. But as it affects me personally, I'm really quite grateful for this experience. It's definitely shaken me in a way that feels overwhelmingly positive because now I don't have an excuse to waste any more of my life."
Man, who needs Ayahuasca?