By Tina Moore, Joe Marino
(MAINNEWS) – A 17-year-old boy was shot at least three times when a fight between a group of teenagers on the Upper West Side exploded Tuesday morning, locking down two nearby high schools and leaving students and neighbors terrified.
Witnesses told police that four or five teenage males began arguing near West 70th Street before the dispute moved toward the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 68th Street.
That’s when the suspect – an unidentified 19-year-old male who’s out on bail in an armed robbery case – pulled a handgun and shot the victim at about 9:50 a.m., police officials said.
He then chased the victim across the street and shot him twice more in the chest before hailing a cab and fleeing.
The boy ran about two blocks to his school, The Maxine Greene High School for Imaginative Inquiry, police said. Authorities rushed him to the hospital, where he underwent surgery. Police said he was in stable condition.
Video shot by a photographer for The Post showed a small fleet of cops and firefighters walking the wounded teen’s gurney down an outside flight of stairs before loading him into an FDNY ambulance.
The school locked down after the shooting, as did nearby LaGuardia High School of Music.
At an afternoon press conference, Chief of Patrol John Chell said that officers from the NYPD’s 20 precinct caught up with a yellow cab about a block away from the scene that the suspect had hailed in an attempt to flee. They recovered a firearm and took the alleged shooter into custody. His name was not released and he has not yet been charged.
“I must reiterate, without the community’s assistance here this morning, this would have been a harder case to solve,” Chell said. “This is truly New York City working together with our police department to take a shooter off the streets.”
Chell said detectives will speak to the victim when he recuperates. They might expect him to fill in details currently unknown to police, such as what the motive for the shooting was and how he knew the triggerman.
The suspect has three prior arrests, Chell said. This includes two narcotics arrests this year and the armed robbery with a firearm charge for which he was indicted in 2021.
Police recovered three shell casings at the scene.
Police arrested the shooter outside 165 West End Avenue, according to a doorman who watched the scene.
“The cab was going downtown,” the doorman said. “There were about five cop cars. They cornered the cab from the back and front. The cops got out with their guns drawn and told the guy to get out. He got out and they arrested him.”
Students and workers at stores on Amsterdam Avenue described the panic they felt after the shots rang out.
“I heard a woman screaming at the top of her lungs, ‘Don’t do it! No, don’t do it!’” one worker said. “Seconds later, there were three shots. I looked out the window and construction workers on the scaffolding” above the local bakery Boule & Cherie “all ducked. I locked the door and hid.”
“I’m kind of scared, honestly,” said Tristan Hinds, a 15-year-old student at LaGuardia. “Gun violence is really ramping up around here.”Mayor Eric Adams went to the Upper West Side neighborhood following the shooting Tuesday morning but left without answering questions.