A 10-year-old boy was killed and his uncle was wounded Saturday night when an assailant opened fire on a New York City home, authorities said.
The incident comes amid a surge in violent crime in America's largest city and in other major metropolitan areas across the nation.
The death of the child, identified by police as Justin Wallace, followed the release of New York City's latest crime statistics showing shootings skyrocketed 73% in May compared to the same month in 2020.
The latest carnage occurred around 9:30 p.m. in the Far Rockaway section in the city's Queens borough, police said. Justin and his 29-year-old uncle, whose name was not immediately released, were hit by bullets when someone began firing into the house from the sidewalk, police said.
Justin was shot in the torso and taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. The boy's uncle was treated for a non-life-threatening bullet wound to the shoulder, police said.
🚨WANTED for HOMICIDE: Do you know this guy? On 6/5/21 at approx 9:33 PM, in front of 342 Beach 45 St in Queens, the suspect fired numerous rounds, striking a 29-year-old male & killing a 10-year-old boy. Any info? DM @NYPDTips, or anonymously call them at 800-577-TIPS. pic.twitter.com/cxp13hqEjI— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 6, 2021
A motive for the shooting was under investigation and the killer was still at large and unidentified on Sunday.
The New York Police Department released a security video Sunday afternoon that showed a dark-colored SUV driving slowly by the home. Moments later the gunman, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and mask is seen walking up to the house and firing up to eight shots from the bottom of the front stoop and then running away.
Police collected multiple shell casings on the sidewalk outside the home, authorities said.
Police said they are investigating the possibility the shooting had something to do with a dispute, ABC station WABC-TV in New York reported.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Justin's father, Albert Wallace, said the shooting may have stemmed from a dispute over a parking space earlier in the evening that involved his nephew, the man who was wounded in the incident.
Albert Wallace told the Daily News that he and his son, a sixth-grade student, had been visiting relatives at the home and were at the front door getting ready to leave when the gunfire erupted.
"I see my son laid down at the door, curled up," Wallace told the newspaper. "When I turn him over, I see this puddle of blood. And I’m saying, 'No no no.' And at the time I heard a [sigh], so I don’t know, that could probably be the last breath he takes because he had internal bleeding."
In a tweet Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the shooting, saying the city shares the family's anger and sadness.
Justin Wallace should be alive right now. He’s dead because of a coward’s act. He had his entire life ahead of him. It’s a profound injustice. His killer will be brought to justice.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 6, 2021
To his family: your city shares your anger, it shares your sadness. We mourn with you. https://t.co/ZeOmTJM4H9
The shooting came during a violent weekend in cities across the country.
Just after midnight Sunday, eight people were wounded, one critically, in a shooting in the East Area of New Orleans. No arrests were made and an investigation is underway to identify the suspect or suspects.