In one of several disturbing weekend shootstwo unwitting taxi passengers were caught in a hail of gunfire early Saturday morning in Hell’s Kitchen.
Nicalus Franklyn, 24, a social worker for a social services agency, and Samy Shelbaya, 22, a medical student, were returning to Manhattan after a night out with other rugby players in Brooklyn around 3:50 a.m. early Saturday morning on W37th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue when they were shot while riding in the back of their taxi (by the post office). The taxi driver finally stopped at the corner of 9th Avenue and 36th Street, near Vito’s Slices and Ices.
In a statement, the NYPD said, “He was reported to police on Saturday July 2, 2022 at approximately 0350 hours, in the vicinity of 265 37th Street West, an unidentified individual discharged a firearm at a group of other unidentified individuals and instead struck two unintended victims who were sitting inside a taxi at a red light at that location. The victims, a 22-year-old man with gunshot wounds to the right arm and a 24-year-old man with gunshot wounds to the left arm, were both transported by EMS to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in stable condition. .”
Shelbaya was grazed in the arm by a bullet while Franklyn, whose injury fractured a bone in his arm, underwent surgery at Bellevue Hospital on Saturday afternoon. His father, Alezander Franklyn, told the New York Post that the damage to his arm could affect his ability to continue playing rugby. “I don’t know what the future holds for us,” he said. said.
The suspect is believed to have targeted a couple opposite Franklyn and Shelbaya’s cab and was not arrested. Police have released surveillance footage of the suspect obtained near the scene and are appealing to the public for advice on identifying the alleged shooter.
The shooting was just a block from where two men were shot in May. These murders took place in a recording studio on W37th Street just east of 9th Avenue. Police are still looking for four suspects believed to be involved in the shooting. At the time, local council member Erik Bottcher told us, “Our town is awash with guns. More needs to be done to stop the flow of guns into our city and get them off the streets.
Tensions over gun violence in the city have rarely been higher as a wave of high profile shootouts occurred within a week of the Supreme Court ruling decision to overturn New York’s concealed carry law. Last week, 20-year-old Azsia Johnson was shot at close range at the intersection of E95th Street and Lexington Avenue. It comes after a 21-year-old college basketball star was fatally shot in Harlem earlier this month and an 11-year-old girl was killed in the crossfire in May.
According According to the New York Times, shootings in the city were down 12% from 2021, but up 28% from 2019. New York lawmakers passed legislation Friday to counter the Supreme Court’s ruling by tightening licensing requirements for concealed carry permit applicants and adding areas where concealed carry is prohibited.
Said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart of the decision: “In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, implying that guns are more important than lives in this country, we are passing legislation to ensure that the New York State has safe and responsible gun laws. States are the last line of defense, which is why we’re mobilizing to prevent New York City from being easily inundated with concealed weapons and guns from falling into the wrong hands. These measures, in addition to the previous anti-gun violence legislation we passed, are vital at a time when there are more guns than people in America. New York will continue to put the safety and lives of people first, and I thank my conference, Speaker Heastie, and Governor Hochul for their partnership.
The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in determining the whereabouts of the individual pictured above in connection with the cab shooting in the Midtown South boundary.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA ( 74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging on to the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.