MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Police on Wednesday stepped up their presence at schools across Upper Manhattan in the wake of a string of suspected gang-related shootings that left two teens and a man injured.
Students heading to school in Harlem and on the Upper West Side were greeted by unusually high NYPD visibility, the result of Chief of Patrol John Chell’s vow to “flood this area” with police.
Chell announced the increased presence during a briefing on Tuesday, as police said it was believed the incidents are gang-related and connected.
The violence began around 10 a.m. when a 17-year-old boy was shot twice in the abdomen near West 68th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, three blocks from Martin Luther King High School, according to police. First responders rushed that victim to an area hospital, where he was listed in what officials described as stable condition.
Cheick Coulibaly, 19, was taken into custody a short time later, according to authorities. Police formally announced his arrest early Wednesday on charges of attempted murder, assault, criminal use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon. Coulibaly was already out on bail while awaiting trial for an alleged gunpoint robbery, and had also been arrested in January in the Bronx on an allegation of criminal possession of stolen property, public online court records indicate.
Just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, a 16-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man were shot near East 125th Street and Madison Avenue, officials said. Four students had just left Renaissance High School when they were confronted by three men, and a fight ensued, police said, describing the attack as gang-related.
During the brawl, shots rang out and the victims were struck, both in the leg, authorities said. They were taken to an area hospital and listed in what officials described as serious condition. Investigators said that the teen was the intended target, while the man was an unintended victim. The suspects fled after the shooting and remained at large early Wednesday.
Gunfire rang out a third time near East 105th Street and Park Avenue around 2:30 p.m., officials said, though no injuries were reported in that incident.
Investigators have said that it’s believed the shootings are related, citing the relatively short distance between them, their proximity to schools, and the age of the victims.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).