Boy, 12, Is Fatally Shot in a Parked Car in Brooklyn, Police Say

A 12-year-old boy sitting in a parked car in Brooklyn was fatally shot on Thursday night after his family stopped to eat, the police said.

A hail of bullets descended on the car, officials said, and the boy, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was hit multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Assistant Chief Michael Kemper said at a news conference late Thursday as rain began to fall.

Mayor Eric Adams, speaking at the news conference, deplored the attack on “innocent people” and vowed that the gunman would be caught.

“The 12-year-old we lost, sitting here in that car, eating,” said the mayor, a former police captain who has pledged to stem the rise in shootings. “The question I continue to ask: ‘What about the innocent people? What about people sitting in their cars that are shot and killed?’”

The motive for the shooting was unclear, the police said, adding that two black sedans were seen fleeing the scene.

The boy’s death was the latest grim episode in a wave of gun violence that has accompanied the pandemic, increasing some New Yorkers’ anxiety about public safety and testing Mr. Adams’s campaign pledge to do what is necessary to counteract those fears.

Crime in New York generally remains well below where it was in earlier, more troubled, chapters of the city’s recent history, but there were more than 1,500 shootings in 2020 and 2021, according to preliminary, year-end police data. That was about twice as many as in each of the previous two years and the highest figure in a decade.

On one weekend this month, 29 people were shot in New York City, including two patrons at a Queens bar, a man on a Brooklyn subway platform and a Jamaican immigrant who was killed after an argument in the Bronx.

The spike in gun violence in New York, part of a broader national trend, continues to be felt most severely in many of the same neighborhoods where it has long marred daily life: those that are largely home to poor and working-class Black and Hispanic residents.

The fatal shooting of the boy on Thursday occurred about 7:45 p.m. at East 56th Street and Linden Boulevard in the East Flatbush section, Chief Kemper said.

The driver of the car, a 20-year-old woman, was also shot multiple times and was undergoing surgery late Thursday, the police said; she was expected to survive. An 8-year-old girl seated in the back was not injured, the police said.

The boy’s family had “pulled over to eat some food,” Chief Kemper said, denouncing what he called “another senseless shooting.”

The police did not immediately release the names of those who were shot beyond saying that they were members of the same family.

The city’s children have often been caught in the crossfire of the surge in shootings.

Last Friday, a 3-year-old girl was hit in the shoulder with a stray bullet after leaving a day care center in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood with her father around 6 p.m., the police said. The gunman’s intended target was a man who was putting his 2-year-old son into his car nearby, the police said.

In January, an 11-month-old girl was struck in the cheek by a stray bullet while she was sitting with her mother in a car parked in the Bronx, the police said.

That episode was among a spate of gun violence that included the killing of a 19-year-old Burger King worker during a robbery in East Harlem and the fatal shooting of two police officers.

The officers’ deaths spurred Mr. Adams to act on a pledge that figured prominently in his primary campaign theme of improving public safety: introducing a revamped version of a specialized police unit focused on getting firearms off New York’s streets.

The new iteration of the unit, which was disbanded in 2020 in an acknowledgment by police officials that it had sowed tension between officers and the people they serve, began work this month.

This week, in a further effort to stem the tide of shootings, Mr. Adams expressed support for the Police Department to return to a so-called broken-windows approach to law enforcement, focusing on low-level offenses now as a way of heading off more serious crimes later.

The mayor’s critics have questioned the move, saying that such a strategy would be a step backward for the city, to an earlier era defined by the discriminatory and heavy-handed mistreatment of Black and Hispanic residents by the police.

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