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Two people shot in Tompkins Square Park

BY SARAH FERGUSON | Updated March 17, 5:30 p.m.: A beautiful, balmy afternoon in Tompkins Square Park was shattered by gunfire when two people were shot right outside a playground.

According to police, at 12:47 p.m. on Saturday multiple 911 calls were made reporting people shot in the East Village park.

Responding officers found a 26-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the buttocks and a 53-year-old female with a gunshot wound to her right hip. Both victims were transported by ambulance to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

Police said that, in the incident, two males were assaulting another male, who responded with gunfire, blasting five to six shots.

Detective Sanchez, speaking to reporters at the scene, said the shooter wore a black hooded sweatshirt and ran out of the park. He did not provide further information, such as the suspect’s age or race.

News reports said the suspect wore a black track suit with white lettering and a black mask and had a tan tote bag.

“We believe at least two males were assaulting the shooter, who then shot one of them,” Sanchez said. “We are not sure at this time if the woman was involved in the dispute.”

According to news reports, either one or both of the victims were innocent bystanders. EVGrieve reported that the woman is from Illinois and was visiting her son to watch him run in a half-marathon on Sunday.

After the shooting, police closed the park from Ninth Street to Seventh Street between Avenue A and the dog run, with all of the Avenue A park entrances closed, as they conducted an investigation.

Sanchez said police were doing a video canvas of the area and looking for evidence inside the park.

“Everything is being looked at right now,” he responded when asked when the park would reopen.

He added that police were canvassing the area on foot and in patrol cars in pursuit of the suspect. There was also a police helicopter overhead.

Jimmy Simopoulos, 60, was sitting on a bench in the park’s center oval, under the Krishna Tree, when he heard the first shot ring out from the area just east of the Avenue A playground, near the Peace and Temperance Fountain.

“I heard the first shot go boom, and then boom boom boom boom, like five shots in a row,” Simopoulos said, adding that he thinks the gun could have been a semi-automatic because “he sprayed the area.”

“People were yelling run, ‘Run!’ Everyone was running, but I just stayed here,” added Simopoulos, who uses a walker because of a stroke. “I was smoking a joint with some punks.”

Bha Bote, a migrant from Sudan, said he was sitting on a bench near the dog run when he heard shots fired.

“I think it was about two or three, ” he said. “All of the people was running.”

Bha, whose country is now engulfed in civil war, said he didn’t flee, but moved a few benches over toward Avenue B.

“I am not too concerned,” he said. “I am here to go to the library. I am looking for work.”

Police ask anyone with information to call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. All tips are strictly confidential.

One Comment

  1. Peg Leg Pete Peg Leg Pete March 19, 2024

    A new poll, just out, says that 50% of all New Yorkers plan to leave the city in the next 5 years and this story is a good example of why they are leaving. In my opinion, the ones who are saying this have the funds to move and take their tax money with them, which will mean less government services and NYPD protection for the working poor who cannot afford to move.

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