Times Square Shooting

December 10, 2009 by USA Post 

shotbig-480Times Square Shooting:A plainclothes police sergeant fatally shot a 25-year-old man Thursday morning outside the parking garage of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square following a crackdown on street vendors who were using CDs to intimidate tourists, the authorities said. The man was armed with a loaded Mac-10 automatic machine pistol, the police said.
A major police response followed the shooting, which occurred around 11:15 a.m. at 46th Street and Broadway, a tourist-packed intersection, during a weekday morning when the streets were filled with shoppers.

Emergency medical workers took the man to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he was first listed in serious condition. Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman, later said that the man had died. The man was not identified, but the authorities said he lived in the Bronx.

According to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because an investigation had just begun, the officer was assigned to a detail charged with enforcing regulations governing street vendors and peddlers.

The official said the police officers were looking into reports of peddlers who had intimidated tourists with a ruse: They would approach the tourists, ask them their names, write their names on the CDs and then demand payment of $10.

The official said that the officer was approaching two vendors who he believed were perpetrating the scam. One of them fled toward the parking garage. As the officer gave chase, the man opened fired, shattering two glass windows of the hotel. The officer returned fire, mortally wounding the man.

The police said they recovered the man’s machine pistol at the scene. Investigators found 27 live rounds of ammunition in the gun, and one shell casing on the ground.

Shannon Maggio, 32, a visitor from New Orleans, was on the 16th floor of the nearby Edison Hotel in a room facing the Marriott, with both windows open, when she heard yelling, and then an eruption of gunfire.

“I heard it clear as day,” she said. “I’d never heard a gunshot before, but I knew it was a gunshot. Pow-pow-pow-pow — just like that. Then I heard a guy yell. Then sirens.” She added: “I froze. My hair stood on end.”

The first 911 call about the shooting came in at 11:19 a.m., and emergency workers arrived a minute later, the authorities said. Preliminary accounts indicated that the shooting occurred at the entrance to the garage, which is under the hotel. A street-level driveway runs under the hotel the length of the block between 45th and 46th Streets.

The hotel was sealed off after the shooting, and the police shut the entirety of Broadway from 45th to 46th Street to both traffic and pedestrians, and much of 46th Street to the east and west, as well.

“Right now, the police are on property,” Kathleen Duffy, a spokeswoman for the hotel, which has 1,900 rooms and is one of the city’s largest hotels, said in a phone interview from outside the hotel. “It’s our understanding it didn’t involve any of our guests or any of our associates.”

The intersection of 46th and Broadway is in the heart of Times Square. The hotel — and a giant Bank of America illuminated sign — is at the southwestern corner; a large new American Eagle Outfitters store is to the northwest; Father Duffy Square (and the TKTS booth that sells discounted Broadway tickets) is to the northeast; and a traffic island is to the southeast.

In the shooting’s aftermath, there did not appear to be significant alarm, at least as judged by tourists who, far from avoiding the area, seemed to push forward to get a view of what had happened.

Emer Rooney, 33, a visitor from Ireland on the last day of a trip to New York, walked with a friend from a nearby hotel to take pictures of the scene. She said she had never felt unsafe in New York. “I actually feel it’s very safe,” she said. “Look at all the police officers.” She cited the shooting, in fact, as one of the more exciting moments of her trip, including recovering lost luggage at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and getting tickets to the musical “Wicked.”

A tourist from Australia, Suzanne Davis, 42, stopped to take images with a video recorder. “It’s my first day in New York, so it makes very real what you see in the movies,” she said.

Nearby, vendors continued to sell tickets for double-decker bus tours.

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