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A 20-year-old woman was fatally shot in the head while walking through the Upper East Side neighborhood of New York City on Wednesday night, police said.
The woman was pushing a stroller when she was attacked, according to a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams’ office. A man approached her from behind, shot her once in the head, then ran from the scene, authorities told CBS New York.
She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to multiple reports.
“When a mother’s pushing a baby carriage down the block, or an individual or a woman is pushing a baby carriage down the block, and is shot in point blank range, it shows just how this national problem is impacting families,” Mayor Adams said at a Wednesday night press conference at the site. “It doesn’t matter if you are on the Upper East Side or East New York, Brooklyn.”
Overall crime in New York has skyrocketed in recent months, rising 27.8 percent in May 2022 as compared to the same month last year, fueled largely by grand larcenies, burglaries, and robberies, according to data released by the New York Police Department earlier this month.
The rise in crime has ramped up pressure on Adams, a former police officer who ran successfully for mayor on a platform of cracking down on lawlessness. He recently appointed a gun-violence czar; released a 15-page “Blueprint to End Gun Violence”; and instituted solo patrols for cops on the subway, where crime is surging at a higher rate.
At the same time, Adams has tried to place blame on prosecutors and judges for allegedly being soft on crime.
“No one takes criminal justice seriously anymore,” he fumed at a news conference alongside law enforcement officials earlier this month. “These bad guys no longer take them seriously. They believe our criminal justice system is a laughingstock of our entire country.”
“We have to get serious about this ’cause innocent people are dying,” he added.
Murders and shooting rates have been gradually progressing downward, however. Incidents of gun violence in the city last month were down 31.4 percent as compared to May 2021, departmental data indicated.
Those numbers have been seized on by Adams’ office, which hopes to change the trajectory of a city that recorded 1,562 shootings in 2021—the highest number in 15 years. In 2020, it racked up 1,531 incidents, more than double the previous year’s figure.
There have been 197 murders in New York City this year so far. Four hundred eight-eight were recorded throughout all of 2021, and the city is on track to end 2022 with 11 percent fewer homicides, according to LX News.
“We have pointed every resource we have at reducing gun violence in the city,” Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a June 3 statement. “We have seen seven straight weeks of shootings going down—and that is not a coincidence.”
The unidentified suspect in Wednesday’s shooting, described as a man in black clothes and a hooded sweatshirt, was still on the run hours later.
The Upper East Side is one of New York’s wealthiest and safest neighborhoods. Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence, lies less than a mile from the crime scene.