NEW YORK (AP) — A teenager was in police custody Sunday after a shooting at a crowded Manhattan ice-skating rink that left two people wounded and blood splattered across the ice.
The violence late Saturday at the Bryant Park rink sent skaters stampeding in all directions to safety.
Authorities said a 14-year-old boy was struck in the back and a 20-year-old man hit in the arm as the gunman opened fire in the popular park between Fifth and Sixth avenues, behind the main building of the New York Public Library. Neither injury was believed to be life-threatening.
“It was terrifying; my legs were shaking,” said Raghuram Krishnamachari, who was dining with his family in a restaurant overlooking the park when they heard three shots being fired.
“We had a view of the whole thing, we saw it happening, and the first thing that came to my mind is, “It’s a crazy person with a machine gun and all he wants to do is kill as many people as possible,'” the Brooklyn resident said.
Krishnamachari and his family barricaded themselves in a bathroom at the glassed-in restaurant and called 911.
Charges were pending against the teen, whose name authorities did not release.
On a mellow, sun-drenched Sunday, the rink opened as normal and the park was again filled with skaters and other visitors enjoying the pre-holiday vendor shacks and eating at outdoor tables.
Many had no idea there had been a shooting the night before.
“I’m surprised — absolutely surprised,” said Allen Targhi, a Manhattan shoe salesman who comes to the park almost daily.
“I expect peace and love and happiness in this park; it’s the reason I come,” he said as he lounged in the sun.
Bustling with activities ranging from movies on the grass in the summer to concerts and special events year round, Bryant Park draws both New Yorkers and out-of-towners.
Some sit in enclosed restaurants nestled in back of the library, overlooking the greenery.
Among them Saturday night was Krishnamachari, who used his cellphone to snap a picture of the violence.
The 29-year-old software architect was dining at Celsius, a second-floor restaurant above the rink, when he heard the shots at about 11 p.m.
“Then we saw a bunch of people running on the ice,” said Krishnamachari, who was with his girlfriend, her sister from Florida and the sister’s husband — out for dinner after a Broadway show. Restaurant guests “were freaking out, shouting and running. My girlfriend started crying.”
Krishnamachari said he worried the gunman would enter the building. He saw an “out of order” sign on a bathroom, which is where he locked in his family and a few others for about five minutes — until he heard voices outside say that it was over. The gunman apparently had fled.
Joe Carella, a spokesman for Bryant Park Corporation, the not-for-profit company that privately manages the park, said there were about 300 people on the ice at the time of the shooting.
Afterward, Krishnamachari walked to the nearby hotel where his sister-in-law was staying.
“We grabbed a bottle of wine and some food, and we went to their room and stayed there all night,” he said. “They were shaken up and we didn’t want them to be alone.”