A gunman killed one person and wounded three others on Saturday as he drove a scooter across Brooklyn and Queens, randomly firing at groups of people and at stores in a chaotic two-hour stretch before the police arrested him, the New York Police Department said.
The 25-year-old gunman, whose name was not released by the authorities, began his rampage around 11 a.m. in Brooklyn where he shot a 21-year-old man in the left shoulder from behind, prompting officers to respond to the scene near the corner of Ashford Street and Arlington Avenue, Joseph Kenny, an assistant chief at the detective bureau, said at a news conference.
Seventeen minutes later, a report came of another shooting, this time in Queens, which mirrored the one in Brooklyn, Chief Kenny said: a man on a scooter firing a gun.
At the second attack, the gunman fatally shot an 87-year-old man near a nail salon on Jamaica Avenue near the Richmond Hills section of Queens, the police said.
A motive for the shootings remained unclear on Saturday, though the attacks appeared to be random, Chief Kenny said, noting that the demographics of the victims were all different.
Once the police realized the first two shootings were possibly connected, officers began a widespread search for the assailant, the acting police commissioner, Edward A. Caban, said at the news conference.
As officers responded to the homicide, they were alerted to a third shooting at a shop in Queens.
No one was struck, but witnesses described to the police how a man on a scooter had been randomly firing at a group of people standing on a corner on Jamaica Avenue, Chief Kenny said.
At about 11:35 a.m., eight minutes after the third shooting, the gunman shot a 44-year-old man in the cheek, the police said. The victim was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition on Saturday evening, Chief Kenny said.
Less than a minute later, the gunman shot a 63-year-old man in his right shoulder, Chief Kenny said, adding that the victim was hospitalized and in stable condition.
The names of the victims have not been released.
Witnesses again described how the assailant had fired while riding a scooter, the police said.
The gunman, who has one prior arrest in New York City, was found by officers at the corner of Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue in Queens and arrested at 1:10 p.m., Chief Kenny said. Officers recovered a 9-millimeter pistol and an extended magazine from the gunman, the police said.
Video of the shootings show that the gunman was not targeting or following anyone — just driving his scooter and randomly shooting in a roughly six-mile stretch of the city, Chief Kenny said.
Marisol Yepes, a 17-year-old technician at Zol Nails on Jamaica Avenue, said that she was working at the salon when she and her co-workers heard what she believed to be “fireworks because it wasn’t as loud as a gunshot normally would sound.”
They went outside and saw a man on the sidewalk, bleeding, Ms. Yepes said.
Ms. Yepes said the windows of May’s Beauty, a store across the street, had been shattered by gunfire.
Security cameras at Zoom Zoom Wireless, a cellphone store across the intersection from May’s Beauty, captured footage of the shooting, according to the store’s owner, Jasvir Singh.
He said the footage shows how the suspect “took a U-turn” and then loaded his gun and “just started shooting randomly” at two people.
The shooting spree came days after Commissioner Caban outlined at a news conference how shootings in New York City had dropped by about 25 percent through the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, extending a downward trend after a spike in violent crime during the pandemic.
The drop, which mirrored similar decreases across the United States, came amid widespread fears about crime in the city, which officials have blamed for keeping workers and suburbanites cloistered in their homes.