Bullets fired into a full MTA bus, wounding teen in Harlem

A teenager was injured in Harlem on Oct. 14 after being caught in a barrage of bullets fired by a brazen gunman at a packed MTA bus, sources said. 

At around 10 a.m. on Oct. 14 as the 14-year-old boy was getting onto the southbound M1 bus heading to Copper Square at West 139 Street and Lenox Avenue, authorities said a gunman fired several shots at the vehicle, grazing the teen. The victim was treated at the scene for the sustained wounds and taken to NYC Health+ Hospitals in Harlem. 

“A 14-year-old male was getting onto the entrance of the bus, another male begins to shoot at the 14-year-old as he was boarding the bus. The 14-year-old received a graze wound to the left side of his head,” said Deputy Inspector Peter Fiorillo from the Detective Bureau Manhattan North during a press briefing.  

One bullet narrowly missed the driver. Photo by Dean Moses

During the incident, the bullets missed the bus driver thanks to the protective shield placed around the seating area. On the right hand side of the bus—directly adjacent from the driver—two entry holes could be observed.  

“One of the rounds struck the protective shield that protects the driver inside the bus. A second round struck the windshield directly in front of the bus driver. The suspect fled the scene on foot,” Inspector Fiorillo said.

Police suspect that the teen was targeted in this incident due to the shooter’s direct aim and lack of hesitation.  

Craig Cipriano, the interim President of New York City Transit, shared his appreciation for the safety of the 39-year-old bus driver, who has 4 ½ years on the job, and that he did not sustain major injuries. He adds that the metal barrier near the driver was embedded with a bullet, stopping it from doing serious damage and what he says could have been fatal harm. 

“My heart goes out to the bus operator. I mean what a traumatic experience this must have been and out of the grace of God we know that he did not suffer any physical injuries,” said Cipriano, adding that the bus operator was taken to the hospital for a minor injury to his left hand. 

An officer watches over the bus. Photo by Dean Moses

A source close to the investigation told amNewYork Metro that the victim had rushed into the bus begging the driver to hastily drive—already aware that he was the gunman’s target. 

“Go, go, go!” the 14-year-old teen yelled. 

According to the source, the driver made a split-second decision to stop the vehicle in hopes of preventing his passengers from being caught in the crossfire. The suspect fled on foot.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. 

 Anyone with information regarding this incident can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

The driver reportedly stopped the bus in hopes of saving lives. Photo by Dean Moses