Man Arrested in Shooting That 2 Children Barely Escaped

In a harrowing scene captured on video, a girl and her brother managed to avoid injury after being caught in a hail of gunfire.

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A suspect was arrested a week after this shooting in the Bronx. The two children who got caught between the gunman and his intended target escaped injury.via New York Police Department

A 27-year-old man on parole was arrested on Friday in a brazen, broad-daylight shooting in the Bronx that gained widespread attention after two children caught in a hail of bullets narrowly escaped being hurt, officials said.

The man, Michael Lopez, of Manhattan, was expected to be arraigned later in the day on attempted murder and other charges, officials said at an afternoon news conference.

In addition to being on parole for an attempted assault conviction, Mr. Lopez faces a robbery charge stemming from an episode since he left prison in which he is accused of brandishing a knife, officials said.

“I think the main question we all should be asking is, ‘How does an individual released to parole get arrested for a knifepoint robbery and is walking around on the streets?’” Dermot F. Shea, the police commissioner, said. “Is that justice for those little kids?”

The shooting was captured by security cameras, with the footage showing a 13-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother among several passers-by who rushed toward a bodega for safety when a gunman ran up and began shooting at a second man. (The police initially said the girl was 10.)

In the chaos, the children and the gunman’s intended target collided and fell to the pavement as bullets continued to fly at close range. The girl can be seen shielding her brother as best as she can.

Amazingly, neither child was shot. The gunman’s target was hit in the legs and back and was expected to survive, the police said. The gunman hopped onto a waiting scooter and rode off. The police said they were still looking for the scooter driver.

The shooting, on Sheridan Avenue in the Claremont section on June 17, was the latest of several episodes involving children caught in the middle of a spike in gun violence that has plagued some neighborhoods and made crime a dominant issue in this year’s mayor’s race.

About a week earlier, a 10-year-old Queens boy was fatally shot while leaving an aunt’s house in the Rockaways. In May, a 4-year-old girl was among several people shot in Times Square by a street vendor who the police said was battling over turf.

Eric Adams, who leads the Democratic mayoral primary field after an initial vote tally, was among the candidates to condemn the Bronx shooting, citing it as a stark example of why he had focused his campaign on issues of crime and public safety.

“I am not going back to the days where our babies were waking up to gunshots and not alarm clocks,” Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former police captain, said last weekend while offering a $2,000 reward for information that led to an arrest.

New York is among a number of cities in the United States to experience an increase in gun violence that began last year during the pandemic and has persisted into the first half of this year. As of June 13, 721 people had been shot in New York, the most to that point in the year since 2002, Police Department statistics show.

The rise in gun violence in the city has mostly been concentrated in a few neighborhoods, including the one where the June 17 shooting happened.

“This case got worldwide attention because of the video and those children,” Darcel D. Clark, the Bronx district attorney, said at the news conference on Friday. “But there are cases like this every day where lives are being ruined. No one hears about them, but the damage is there.”