A four-year-old girl and two women were killed in a shooting in New York's busy Times Square on Saturday, police said, in the city's latest outbreak of gun violence.
According to an AFP report, the shooting occurred just before 5:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. GMT) at the intersection of 7th Avenue and 44th Street.
A four-year-old girl in a stroller was hit in the leg while her family was out shopping for toys, a 46-year-old woman was hit in the foot, and a 23-year-old Rhode Island tourist was hit in the leg.
At a press conference, New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that they were hospitalized in Manhattan and that their lives were not in danger.
Shea said the three bystanders, who didn't seem to know each other, were drawn into a fight between two to four men, one of whom fired a shot.
By early evening, no arrests had been made. An appeal for witnesses was made, and surveillance camera footage of a wanted man was released.
Because the theaters all closed in March 2020, Times Square, one of New York's tourist hotspots before the pandemic, has shifted.
According to the Times Square Alliance, the community business group, the city saw 25 violent crimes in the first quarter of 2021, up from 17 in the same timeframe of 2020.
A video of an attack on an older Asian woman shocked the neighborhood at the end of March.
A man with a criminal record was arrested and charged after he stayed in a hotel near Times Square that had turned into a homeless reception center.
However, neighborhood theaters are scheduled to reopen on September 14, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently launched a major initiative to boost tourism beginning in June.
According to official statistics, shootings in New York have risen dramatically since the summer of 2020, when demonstrations against police brutality erupted following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Over the same time span, overall crime increased by 30%.