A manhunt is underway for a suspect who shot a woman at a clothing store in Times Square late Thursday before he opened fire on responding police as he fled the busy tourist hotspot area, according to police.
The shooter, described as a Hispanic male aged between 15 and 20 years old wearing all white, is wanted for the attempted murder of a police officer and was part of a trio that was suspected of shoplifting at JD Sports on West 42nd Street and Broadway at around 7:05 p.m., police said at a late-night press conference.
A female security guard confronted the group and took the stolen merchandise when chaos erupted in Manhattan’s gun-free zone.
The shooter pulled out a gun and fired at the security guard, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said. The bullet missed the security guard and struck a 37-year-old female tourist in the leg. She was taken to a nearby hospital.
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The shooter and a male accomplice — who was wearing a blue jacket and is a 15-year-old Hispanic male — then fled the store and ran towards 47th Avenue, Chell said.
Two police officers patrolling the area then gave chase, capturing the suspect in the blue jacket. The juvenile has since been released without charge.
However, the shooter kept running along 47th Street towards Sixth Avenue with one of the officers on his tail.
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The shooter ducked inside a gap between two buildings on the block before opening fire on the chasing police officer, Chell said.
“Our officer draws his weapon, but he cannot fire, too many people around,” Chell said.
“As the male in the white goes further into the cut, under his armpit he fires another shot at our officer. Again, our officer does not return fire.”
The shooter then bolted into the subway station at 46th Street and Sixth Avenue, where police say they have footage of him on the tracks. He then returns from the subway station and is still at large.
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Chell said that he tossed his white jacket but had a white T-shirt on, as well as white sneakers.
“That is the last we have seen of him at this point. We have numerous resources scouring this area, looking for that male,” Chell said.
“He shot at our cops not once but twice, and also shot an innocent female, one time in the leg.”
The male in the blue jacket was brought back to the precinct. It is unclear what happened to the third person in the shoplifting group.
The shooting comes nearly two weeks after two police officers were attacked by a mob of migrants in Times Square. Pickpocketing and shoplifting have become a major problem.