Times Square becomes shooting gallery

If you were leaving the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan on Thursday morning,what you saw was not a movie. A plainclothes police officer shot a 25-year-old man; the shot was fatal. But, before going down, the Bronx resident, who was not identified, fired first with a semiautomatic Mac-10. The gunfight broke out over whether the gunman was a scammer, writing tourists’ names on CDs and using that to pressure them into buying.

The bullets flew over Broadway, quite literally, at 11:15 AM. The streets were packed with tourists and shoppers, which is the norm in Times Square on a weekday in December. The police officer involved, who’s been on the force for 17 years, is assigned to enforce street vendor regulations. He saw two people he suspected of a specific scam: (1) approach a tourist, (2)ask for his name, (3) write the name on a CD and (4) demand $10 for the “service.”

Though nobody — except the gunman, of course — was reported to have been hurt, but the situation could have been pretty severe. There were 27 rounds of ammo in the Mac-10. He only got three shots off before a shattered bullet caused the weapon to misfire.

Doubtless, an event like this is bound to reach a first-time visitor to the city … such as Suzanne Davis from Australia: “It’s my first day in New York, so it makes very real what you see in the movies.”

[Photo by Stewart via Flickr]