By Ida Siegal
NBC New York
A teenage girl was killed and four men were wounded when two gunmen opened fire on the Brighton Beach boardwalk that was crowded with people seeking relief from Thursday’s heat, police said.
The shooting erupted at about 5:30 p.m. at Brighton 4th Street and Brighton 6th Street. Police spokesman Paul Browne says the shooting occurred during an altercation on the beach.
He did not know if the people shot were intended targets or bystanders. He described the situation as “chaotic.’’ Police believe it may be gang-related.The 16-year-old girl who died was identified as Tysha Jones. She was shot under the left armpit and died at Coney Island Hospital, where a 23-year-old man was in critical condition with a stomach wound.
Also wounded were a 21-year-old, a 25-year-old and a 26-year-old. They were taken to Lutheran Hospital. Police were questioning some people but declined to say whether they were potential suspects. No arrests have been made.
Witnesses told NBC New York that the boardwalk was crowded and everyone seemed to be in good spirits when suddenly eight or nine shots rang out. Crowds began running, and one parent who was there with a dozen children said they all hid under the boardwalk until police arrived.
Pat Singer, the founder of the Brighton Neighborhood Association, said the hot weather brought hordes of young people to the beach Thursday. “It’s massive chaos,’’ she said.
Saya Suzuki, 30, was just about to sit down inside a boardwalk restaurant with her 6-year-old daughter, Sonya, when the shooting began just outside. Suzuki told The New York Times she heard about six shots, then grabbed her daughter and saw two teenagers run by her. “I just picked up my daughter and got away from the bullets,’’ she said. “It happened so quickly and I had to protect my daughter.’’
“I was running with my kids, running with my kids from gunshots. Can you believe that? After a wonderful day,” the unidentified mother told NBC New York. The neighborhood that borders Coney Island is home to a large Russian èmigrè population.
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