A festive Saturday night on a Queens street was interrupted when two gunmen opened fire on a crowd, leaving 10 people injured in a mass shooting that the police said was gang related.
The shooting occurred on 37th Avenue in North Corona, about two miles south of La Guardia Airport, according to the police. Surveillance video recorded the gunmen, in hoodies and masks, rounding a corner from 97th Street and opening fire as they walked down the block, trailed by two accomplices on scooters.
Investigators believe the gunmen were targeting three male members of the Trinitarios gang hanging out outside a barbershop, but seven bystanders were also wounded, the police said.
All the victims were expected to survive, top police officials said at a news conference on Sunday at the scene. But Chief of Detectives James Essig said he was disturbed by what he saw as “a brazen, coordinated attack.”
“Two guys just stick their arms out, walk down a very crowded street at 10:30 at night, where there’s parties going on, restaurants going on, crowded streets,” he said, adding: “After they fire at least 37 shots — that we know of — they calmly get on the back of the scooters and take off. So very brazen, to say the least.”
At a restaurant a few doors down from the barbershop, a crowd had gathered for the owner’s birthday party, Chief Essig said.
The Queens shooting was one of six that the police recorded on Saturday, with a total of 18 victims.
It involved a number of factors that have been present in recent shootings around the city, including gang members, one or more guns, scooters, masks and injured bystanders, according to Chief Essig.
“This is unacceptable on our streets of New York City, and it has to stop,” he said.
The wounded bystanders were five men and two women, and the victims range in age from 19 to 72, according to police. Most were struck in their legs or feet, and the youngest was shot in his right ear, the police said. The victim who was most seriously injured was a man who was shot in the stomach, the police said.
They were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, along with other hospitals, for treatment.
On Sunday afternoon, police tape still cordoned off part of 37th Avenue as officers milled about and onlookers gathered. Storefront gates remained rolled down over restaurants, clothing stores and a laundromat on the strip.
At Dos Bros, a restaurant seen in surveillance video of the shooting, the glass from the front window was shattered and littered the street.
Chief Essig said the police had recovered 40 shell casings and deformed bullets. But it was still early in the investigation, and he implored the public to help by passing on any information.
“The detectives still have a lot of work to do — interviews, canvasses, daylight searches, but we’re asking for the public’s help for any information they have on this,” he said.
Will Dudding contributed reporting.