The car was struck by a large number of shots on Thursday night, and the boy sitting in the passenger seat was hit several times, The New York Times reported.
Assistant Chief Michael Kemper told the press that the boy was pronounced dead at the scene. He added that the shooting took place in East Flatbush at around 7.45pm.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, who entered office at the beginning of this year, said at the Thursday night press briefing: “The 12-year-old we lost, sitting here in that car, eating – The question I continue to ask: ‘What about the innocent people? What about people sitting in their cars that are shot and killed?’”
The mayor and former police captain, who was elected in part because he promised a crackdown on crime in the city, asserted that the killer would be caught.
Police said two black sedans were seen driving away from the scene of the shooting. They added that a motive hasn’t yet been established.
Police data shows that there have been 1,500 shootings in New York in 2020 and 2021 – the highest number in a decade.
During just one weekend in March, 29 people were shot in New York City, The Times noted.
Gun violence has increased across the US during the pandemic and has most harshly affected lower-income and minority residents.
The 20-year-old woman in the driver’s seat of the vehicle was also struck several times by the hail of bullets. She was in surgery on Thursday night and was expected to survive, according to law enforcement. An eight-year-old girl sitting in the backseat wasn’t injured.
Chief Kemper said they had “pulled over to eat some food” and were then attacked in what he called “another senseless shooting”.
Police didn’t immediately reveal the names of those who were shot but said they were all from the same family.
Several children in New York City have recently been struck by stray bullets in shootings targeting other people.
After two police officers were shot dead in the city, Mr Adams took the step to reintroduce an updated version of a police unit that was dissolved in 2020, which was focused on getting weapons off the streets.
The unit’s work previously came to an end as officials noted that it created tension between the police and their communities. The new version of that unit started its work in March.
Earlier this week, Mr Adams advocated for the police to return to the broken-windows strategy of policing – to focus on smaller crimes in an effort to counteract more serious violations down the line.
But critics have said that this would mean a return to a time when New York’s minority residents were discriminated against by law enforcement and faced forceful tactics.
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