Patrons of the restaurants lining the Brighton Beach boardwalk at Brighton 6th Street were unexpectedly treated to a macabre show, as a gunman opened fire just feet away from the outdoor seating, leaving five people wounded or worse.
Witnesses to the shooting said that a man was walking along the crowded boardwalk around 5:30 p.m., when he suddenly opened fire on a group of people near the benches. One witness said seven shots were fired – four shots first, then three more – and at least three people appeared seriously wounded. Police are reporting that five people in all were injured.
Media reports say that at least two people are in critical condition – a man and a woman.
(Brighton Beach shooting: View photos of the scene, as police canvassed the area.)
(Brighton Beach shooting: View a video from a restaurant patron taken moments after the shooting.)
(Brighton Beach shooting: Two graphic videos taken from the crowd gathering around the victims.)
Another witness at the scene told Sheepshead Bites that a police foot patrol was passing by at that moment. Police took cover in Tatiana Restaurant, and the gunman ran off – along with hundreds on the boardwalk.
Adding to the mayhem and confusion was the unusually large crowd. Today is Brooklyn/Queens Day, so many students off from school hit the beaches.
The gunman is still believed to be at large, and police are closing off streets between the boardwalk and Brighton Beach Avenue, and Brighton 6th Street.
One Sheepshead Bites reader was nearby, and sent us this message:
mass shooting on brighton beach at around 5:30pm, near coney island avenue. i heard several shots, then a huge crowd of beach-goers run from the beach. minutes later police sirens and a helicopter.
Other beachgoers at the time had said that they had never seen so many people running.
This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will provide more information as it becomes available.