Times Square gunman Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, caught at Florida McDonald's after 4-day hunt as he runs out of gas
STARKE, FLORIDA: The prime suspect in a shooting in New York's Times Square that injured three people, including a child, was arrested in Florida on Wednesday, May 12. He was reportedly eating lunch outside a McDonald's parking lot in Jacksonville when police caught up to him. A local source reportedly claimed the shooter was apprehended after his car ran out of gas due to shortages affecting the area after the Colonial Pipeline was hacked, according to Spectrum NY1.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) identified Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, as the person of interest in the May 8 shooting. He evaded the authorities for four days before being apprehended, Newsweek reported. "While there is no joy today, there is justice," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters at a press conference.
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Authorities caught up with Muhammad and his girlfriend as they were eating in a car outside a McDonald's in Starke, Florida. AP reported that two dogs were with the pair when they were taken into custody, with French fries strewn on the car's floor.
NYPD's Chief of Detectives James Essig said the department received tips claiming Muhammad was fleeing south after the shooting. They were able to verify the tips via surveillance footage from a Walmart near Fayetteville, North Carolina.
"I want to thank the public for all your help," Essig said. "We received numerous Crime Stoppers tips that were instrumental in the identification, and it shows how much Crime Stoppers is valuable."
The shootout reportedly took place on Saturday at around 5 pm when two to four men got into an argument near West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue. A gun was pulled at some point during the scuffle, but the shooter went on to strike three other people who were not involved, including a child.
Among the victims were a four-year-old girl from Brooklyn, a 23-year-old female tourist, and a 43-year-old New Jersey resident. Each sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where they continue to recuperate.
A video of the suspect was shared by the NYPD on Twitter just hours after the shooting incident. Authorities urged anyone who had information about the suspect's identity or whereabouts to contact the department. Meanwhile, authorities also released a photo of the suspect on Monday, May 10, revealing he was 31 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and 160 pounds.
UPDATE: @NYPDDetectives have identified the suspected wanted in connection to the shooting in Times Square on Saturday, May 8th.— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 11, 2021
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Farrakhan Muhammad please call @NYPDTips at #800577TIPS. He’s 31 years old, 5'6" and 160lbs.s pic.twitter.com/hneBxZzgbc
During a press conference late Saturday, Shea said that the victims were unintended targets and described them as "innocent bystanders." He revealed that the four-year-old girl was shot in the leg and was undergoing surgery. She was reportedly in town to shop for toys with her parents.
Following the shooting, police rushed the little girl to an ambulance. Officer Alyssa Vogul, who wrapped a tourniquet around the girl's leg, said the child was "the strongest person I have ever seen."
"For somebody who has just been shot, she was just standing there, obviously scared, but she wasn't crying or anything," Vogel told Good Morning America. "She only yelled when we were tightening the tourniquet, because that's very painful, but she was very calm for somebody who was in a very traumatic situation."
Shea called for greater punishment to curb the spread of firearms in the city. "We're very concerned about the proliferation of guns, not only in this incident but throughout New York City the past couple of years," Shea said after the shooting. "We have been taking guns off the street in New York City at an alarming rate over the past two years, and it's time now we have consequences for those," he added.