A Florida Arrest in the Times Square Shooting

Police believe his intended target was his brother

By Eduardo Cuevas and Xiang Shen

The man suspected of the Times Square shooting over the weekend that left three bystanders hurt, including a four-year-old girl, was arrested in Florida on Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

U.S. Marshals arrested Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, at a McDonald’s parking lot near Jacksonville, James Essig, the chief of detectives for the NYPD, told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. At the time, Muhammad was said to be having a meal with a woman believed to be his girlfriend.

Just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, Muhammad was involved in a fight near the corner of West 45th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. During the dispute, witnesses told police that at least one person pulled out a gun and opened fire—on commercial streets that are normally clogged with tourists.

Police said they believe Muhammad intended to shoot his brother. Both of them are believed to be compact disc vendors in the area, though it’s unclear what started the fight.

“There’s no motive for pulling out a gun and shooting anywhere in New York City,” Essig said.

Instead, three bystanders were shot, Shea said during a press conference at the scene. Mạrcela Aldana, 43, from New Jersey was struck in the foot; Wendy Magrinat, 23, visiting from Rhode Island, and a four-year-old girl from Brooklyn, who was toy shopping with her parents, were both hit in the leg. They were admitted to Bellevue Hospital, where they were said to have non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said at the time that they believe the injured bystanders were neither related to each other nor involved in the initial dispute.

Detectives used footage of Muhammad at the scene to identify him, Essig said. Police also said they received tips from residents that helped identify and locate him, even though he cut his hair after the shooting. The detectives determined Muhammad was out of state, headed south.

Video surveillance at a Walmart in Fayetteville, North Carolina, also showed Muhammad getting food for two dogs that were with him, police said. Investigators also identified addresses in Florida where he could be going.

Eventually, Marshals officers located Muhammad at the McDonald’s parking lot in Starke, Florida, about 50 miles from Jacksonville. He was in a car driven by his girlfriend, Essig said.

Officers arrested Muhammad without incident, and he’s being held in the Bradford County Jail without bail. His address was listed at a Midtown Manhattan hotel on West 42nd Street, jail logs show.

He’s expected to be returned to New York City, where he will face charges related to the shooting, Essig said. Muhammad’s girlfriend has not been arrested.

Essig said the three people shot were expected to make a full recovery.

“While there is no joy, there is justice,” Shea said.

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