Police near the crime scene of a homicide in High Bridge Park in Upper Manhattan on Monday.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 3, 2016, 5:16 PM
A 36-year-old man was shot dead and a bystander was wounded Monday when gunfire erupted in a Washington Heights park not far from a rec center and a playground mobbed with young kids, officials said.
The unidentified victim was shot multiple times in the head at about 12:55 p.m. and died on a slab of concrete lined with benches in Highbridge Park on W. 172nd St. and Edgecombe Ave., officials said.
Another bullet ripped through a bystander’s shoulder. Paramedics rushed him to Lincoln Medical Center. He was expected to survive.
Cops said they tracked the suspected shooter to the Bronx and arrested him in the Highbridge neighborhood, where they also took a gun off of him.
He was being questioned and has not yet been charged.
The shooting took place steps from the Highbridge Recreation Center, a heavily used playground and a Little League field. A footbridge across the Harlem River is nearby.
Authorities tracked the suspect into the Bronx.
A parks worker said the footbridge is always busy.
“A lot of people use the bridge to go to work and it’s used big time for exercise – people jogging,” she said.
Two hours after the shootings, kids rode their bikes and women pushed strollers past the gruesome crime scene.
Jason Pena, 44, who was at the park with his 4-year-old son, said the shooting recalled a darker time, one of broken bottles and needles strewn throughout the park he has lived by for decades.
“They cleaned up the neighborhood,” he said. “It used to be real dangerous. It’s clean now.
After years of being closed, the High Bridge reopened to much fanfare last year.
“That had to be an isolated incident,” he added. “It could have been a mugging. Usually things like that don’t happen here anymore.”
A couple of hours after the shooting – with the victim’s body still lying under a sheet – Judith Nunez, 30, walked across the street from her home with her husband and two girls ages 6 and 3 and a 2-year-old boy.
“I can’t believe it, that is dangerous,” she said. “As far as I know, that never happened before. I don’t like to let (the kids) play alone here.
“For today, I’m not going over there,” she said, pointing toward the crime scene.