A search is on for someone who shot a tourist in Times Square and then fired at police

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NEW YORK (AP) — A suspected shoplifter shot a tourist in the leg inside a Times Square sporting goods store and then fled into the street, stopping to shoot at a pursuing police officer who could not return fire because of the evening crowds, police said.

The tourist, a 37-year-old woman, was expected to recover after Thursday’s shooting in New York City. It prompted a huge police presence and search that temporarily closed streets in the area, which draws thousands of people daily.

The shooter, described by police as a male between 15 and 20 years old, was still at large Friday.

“We are looking for one male. He is the shooter,” Chief of Patrol John Chell said at a news conference at the scene Thursday. “He shot at our cops not once but twice, and also shot an innocent female one time in the leg.”

The shooter, dressed all in white, pulled out a gun shortly after 7 p.m. and fired after being confronted by a security officer inside the store. After striking the tourist, the shooter and another male ran from the store and were quickly spotted by police officers, Chell said.

The second person was taken into custody while the shooter ran away, at one point cutting between buildings, where he turned and fired at a police officer who was chasing him.

“Our officer draws his weapon. He cannot fire,” Chell said. “Too many people around, there’s too many people ducking.”

The suspect fired again from under his arm and continued to flee, running into a subway station, where he was last seen. Video shows him going onto the tracks and coming back out of the subway, Chell said.

A reward of as much as $10,000 was offered for information, police said.

Once one of the seediest places in New York, synonymous with pornographic theaters and sex work, Times Square experienced a revitalization in the 1990s that transformed it into one of the city’s most family-friendly destinations. On most evenings, it is packed with gawking tourists and street performers, though it also still attracts pickpockets and hustlers looking to take advantage of out-of-towners.

Overall, crime rates have plummeted in New York City since a spike at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people shot in the city dropped 39% between 2022 and 2023, a trend that has continued into the new year.

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