A 16-year-old boy has been shot in the neck and killed in a shocking daylight attack outside a deli in the Bronx, as New York suffers a surge in gun violence.
The boy, identified by police as James Solano, was outside the King Deli and Grocery in the Morrisania neighborhood when he was shot around 12:10pm on Wednesday.
Surveillance camera footage from outside the store shows the gunman tapping Solano on the shoulder, moments before pulling a gun from inside his coat.
He then opens fire once at point blank range, hitting Solano in the neck before he flees the scene.
Solano is seen staggering into the deli with his hands around his neck.
The teenager was taken in critical condition to Lincoln Hospital, where he later died, WABC reports.
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Pictured: Surveillance video captured the moment of the shooting at the deli
King Deli and Grocery in the Bronx was the site of a murder on Wednesday afternoon
The suspect in the killing fled south on Boston Road according to police, and remains at large.
He was wearing a black jacket, a light hoodie, and a white surgical mask.
Pictures from the scene show the victim’s blood all over the street and even on the ATM inside of the deli.
Luis Hernandez, manager of the nearby Compare Foods, told the New York Daily News: ‘I saw a kid in the street. He was laid out flat. I have no words. It was so sad.’
‘I heard a loud boom,’ said another Compare Foods employee who remained anonymous. ‘I didn’t know what was going on. Police were everywhere.’
‘My kids and nephews heard the gunshots when it happened,’ upstairs resident Christine Martinez said to the Daily News. ‘They didn’t think too much of it. Unfortunately, it happens too often in this neighborhood.’
Police reportedly recovered a single shell casing from the scene of the killing.
No motive has been given for the killing.
The killing has chilling echoes of the murder of Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman, who was stabbed to death in another Bronx deli in June 2018.
Five gang members brutally Guzman to death in a case of mistaken identity after he fled into the store. All five killers were later sentenced to life in prison.
The suspect, who remains at large, fled the scene of the crime after shooting the boy
The victim’s blood was discovered on the ground outside the deli, as well as on the ATM inside
The suspect in the killing fled south on Boston Road according to police, and remains at large
Pictured: Police taking pictures of the crime scene outside of King Deli and Grocery
Murders have been sharply on the rise in New York City in 2020.
According to the police department’s CompStat data, there have been 103 murders in the Bronx through December 13, a 27.2 percent rise from 2019.
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says that the city is on pace to set a 14-year record for most incidents of gun violence in a single year
The murder rate has risen even more sharply across the city as a whole, with 432 murders so far this year, a 38.9 percent rise from last year.
Earlier this month, the commissioner of the New York Police Department said that the city is on pace to end 2020 with the highest level of gun violence since 2006.
New York’s top cop, Dermot Shea, said the state’s new bail reform law is to blame.
Shea made the comments as official data from his department indicated that shootings have soared 96 percent this year compared to 2019.
Last year, 735 reported shootings in the first eleven months of the year. This year, that number nearly doubled to 1,433 incidents of gun violence.
The last time there were this many shootings in a single year was in 2006, when the NYPD reported 1,427 shootings.
‘I wish I had better news on gun violence specifically… we’re looking to close out the year on a 14-year high,’ Shea told NY1. ‘This has been a year like no other.’
In November alone, there have been a total of 115 shootings – a 112 percent jump compared to the same time last year.
November also saw 28 murders – a 38 percent rise compared to November 2019.
Shea says that criminal justice reform initiatives including bail reform are to blame for the spike in violent crime.
‘We have made staggering numbers of gun arrests, taking guns off the streets from felons, doing it almost always without a shot being fired,’ Shea told NY1.
‘But when you look three days later, four days later, those individuals are back on the street committing more gun violence.’
Shea told NY1 that progressive policies that encourage criminal justice reform are making the city more dangerous.
‘Until we come to that realization as a society — is this what we want?’ he said.
‘It’s good to have philosophical discussions about ‘end mass incarceration’ and ‘end incarceration’ but you don’t want to do it by turning the innocent public into jails in their own apartments and houses.’
Shea’s boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, pushed back on the commissioner’s comments.
The mayor told reporters at his City Hall briefing on Tuesday morning that the surge in violent crime this year can be pinned on an ‘absolute perfect storm’ that hit New York this year.
‘You cannot combine a massive health crisis, tens of thousands of people dying, hospitals overwhelmed, economy is shut down, schools are shut down, houses of worship shut down, society not having its normal moorings all at once, a social justice crisis…’ the mayor said.
Shea’s boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, pushed back on the commissioner’s comments blaming the state’s new bail reform laws for the surge in violent crime
‘Come on, this is not like anything we have seen in our history and I believe not like anything we will see again in our lifetimes.’
The mayor acknowledged there had been an ‘uptick in violence’ though he added that it is ‘clearly being addressed because we’re regluing the situation together again.’
‘We are seeing much more connection between police and communities through neighborhood policing,’ the mayor said.
In late 2018, the Democrats swept into power in Albany, capturing a majority of seats in the state legislature.
Police data also shows that the number of shooting incidents in 2020 is outpacing that of last year
The latest NYPD statistics indicate a spike in the number of murders in 2020 compared to 2019
One of the signature policy initiatives that were signed into law was a bail reform measure that sought to reduce the inmate population among those who were accused of nonviolent crime.
The law requires judges in New York State to release those accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
In order to ensure that those arrested return for their court dates, the judge may impose non-monetary conditions, like electronic monitoring or supervised release.
If someone is suspected of committing a violent felony and the judge is not convinced that he or she will show up for their court date, the judge can impose bail.
Supporters of the reform say it is necessary to reduce the pre-trial jail population and combat mass incarceration.
Opponents, including law enforcement officials and prosecutors, say that it allows recidivist criminals to continue committing crimes without a deterrent.
After criticism that the reforms were too lenient, lawmakers introduced an amended version which gave judges more discretion in imposing bail, though the crux of the reform has remained intact.