NEW YORK >> A man suspected of shooting three bystanders in New York’s Times Square was arrested today in Florida, four days after the gunfire wounded people including a 4-year-old girl out toy shopping in the tourist haven known as “the “Crossroads of the World.”
Farrakhan Muhammad was taken into custody while eating lunch in a McDonald’s parking lot near Jacksonville, police said.
“While there is no joy today, there is justice,” New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
Muhammad, 31, was listed Wednesday in an inmate database for the sheriff’s office in Bradford County, Florida. Information on a lawyer who could speak on his behalf was not immediately available.
Muhammad is suspected of wounding the three victims with stray bullets during a dispute at about 5 p.m. Saturday in Times Square, where police said he was apparently selling CDs.
Wendy Magrinat, a 23-year-old tourist visiting from Rhode Island, was shot in the leg. A 43-year-old woman from New Jersey was shot in the foot. The 4-year-old girl, from Brooklyn, was also shot in the leg.
Magrinat, who was in the city for a Mother’s Day trip, told the Daily News she was screaming, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I have a 2-year-old,” after being hit by a bullet that will likely remain lodged in her leg for the rest of her life.
Muhammad was apparently aiming for his brother, but investigators haven’t yet pinpointed the motive, chief of detectives James Essig said.
Police released videos and photos of Muhammad and asked the public for help tracking him down, and Essig said many people called in with tips. Muhammad’s family made a public plea for him to turn himself in.
Officers identified Muhammad as a suspect within hours and soon realized he was heading south, Essig said.
Video then captured Muhammad and a woman, believed to be his girlfriend, buying dog food and other supplies at a store in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Meanwhile, investigators realized he had connections to some addresses in Florida.
The U.S. Marshals Service caught up with the two today as they were eating in a car outside a McDonald’s in Starke, Florida, police said. Two dogs were with the pair when they were arrested, with French fries lying on the car’s floor, police said.
Muhammad had shaved off some of his hair, Essig said.
The woman has not been arrested on any charges, but police consider her a person of interest in their ongoing investigation. Police believe the two had been living together in a building near Times Square.