Sixteen year old Avon Darden has surrendered to the police after a shooting that took place last week in Times Square, leaving a 21-year-old tourist injured. The unintended victim of the shooting was 21-year-old Samuel Poulin, a Marine, who was visiting the city from upstate Northville.
Avon Darden turned himself into the Midtown South Police Precinct on Wednesday afternoon and was questioned. The shooting, which took place on June 27, followed an argument between Darden and an unidentified break dancer.
“The intended victim was break dancing just a few minutes before the shooting so it is believed that this is a dispute between break dance crews in the area, probably about turf and who that corner belongs to as a performance space,” one source said. It was the fight that spurred Darden to pull out a gun and open fire.
The bullet hit Poulin, striking his upper back just as he and his family were walking past the Marriott Hotel on West 45th Street and Broadway, cops said at the time. No one else was injured.
Samuel Poulin was taken to Bellevue Hospital with injures that were not life-threatening. Poulin – who was with his wife, sister and brother-in-law when he was shot – is now in stable condition, cops said.
Sydney Santana, a tourist from New Orleans, said she heard a pop coming from Avon Darden’s gun. “Everybody was kind of confused, just looking around,” she said. “They blocked off the street really quick so no one could get down the street.”
“So many people here, and of course a lot of people visit from other places, so I wish it didn’t happen at all, but it’s bad it happened in Times Square,” Santana added.
Surveillance video was released by the NYPD, showing Avon Darden firing his gun.
The devastating event follows another shooting that occurred around the corner from where two women and a 4-year-old girl were shot in May. Cops arrested the alleged 31-year-old gunman, Farrakhan Muhammad, in Florida weeks later.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the shooting, saying that he will increase a police presence in Times Square. “Bottom line is, we are going to flood the zone in Times Square with additional officers,” de Blasio said during a virtual news conference. “It’s mission-critical to get this right,” he said. “So, we’re going to make very clear to everyone, they’re going to see plenty of police presence and they’re going to see these issues addressed very aggressively.”
NYPD statistics released Monday showed that major crimes increased 5.1 percent during the week that ended Sunday, compared to the same period last year.
According to the official CompStat figures, weekly shootings declined 33.9 percent, but are still up 42.7 percent since the beginning of the year compared to the same period last year.