A 16-year-old boy was killed and two other teenagers were wounded after a gunman shot up a Brooklyn park on Sunday — one of fifteen shootings and seven homicides reported across the city in a 24 hour period, according to the NYPD.
The three teenagers were playing basketball at George Walker Jr. Park in Cypress Hills when a passing motorist opened fire shortly before 7 p.m., police said. The 16-year-old victim was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. An 18-year-old was also shot in the head and transported to a local hospital in critical condition, while a 17-year-old was struck in the leg and is in stable condition. [UPDATE: The 18-year-old has died. Scroll down for more updates.]
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shooting "heartbreaking" in a tweet on Saturday, adding, "No parent should ever have to bury a child." There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing.
The fatal shooting comes amid a reported uptick in gun violence across the five boroughs. Of the seven homicides throughout the city on Sunday, six of them involved gun shots, according to police.
Among the deceased is Juancarlos Ortega, a 24-year-old Manhattan man who was killed in a double shooting outside a large gathering in the Bronx early Sunday morning, according to police.
Shaka Ifill, 40, was shot in the back in Central Queens on Sunday — reportedly blaming his girlfriend and mother before succumbing to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
Shootings also claimed the lives of a 32-year-old man in Staten Island, a 37-year-old man in the Bronx, and a 32-year-old man in Brooklyn. A young woman was found stabbed to death in a hallway in the Bronx, according to police.
There were 47 shootings in the last week, compared to 17 during the same week last year, according to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
During a press briefing on Monday, de Blasio once again blamed pandemic-related delays in the court system for the increase in gun violence.
A spokesperson for the state court system has called that justification "at best totally factually incorrect and at worst an attempt to shift the blame for his inability to manage the increase in New York’s street violence," according to the Queens Eagle.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also sought to blame bail reform for the uptick — a claim that public defenders have said does not hold up to scrutiny, in part because gun charges are bail eligible.
"We've all got to figure this out together, and we want to partner with the court system and with the DA to get this right," the mayor said. "This is a problem we can overcome. This is the history of fighting back against crime against this city."
UPDATE: Police have identified the 16-year-old victim killed in Cypress Hills as Kleimer Mendez. The second victim, 18-year-old Antonio Villa, was also pronounced dead on Monday afternoon, after he was transferred to King County Hospital in critical condition. Both teenagers lived in Cypress Hills, just a few blocks from the park.
Video released by the NYPD on Monday afternoon shows a suspect firing several shots from the sunroof of a Honda CRV.
We'll update this post as more information becomes available.