Police released photos of four suspects they are looking for in connection to the attack that is believed to be gang related.
Authorities say two cars pulled up next to a group of 10 to 12 teens who were walking down the sidewalk near 64-50 188th Street in Fresh Meadows shortly after 4 p.m.
That's when the four unidentified suspects approached the group of teens and got into a verbal dispute.
Police say one of the suspects then took out a gun and fired several shots into the group before getting back into a dark gray sedan that fled the scene heading northbound on 188th Street.
"All of a sudden I hear gunshots, and I'm like I know those are gunshots, those are not fireworks," a witness named Vincent said. "I told my son get inside."
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The 14-year-old girl, who is believed to have been walking in the vicinity and was not part of the group, was struck in the neck.
She was rushed to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in critical but stable condition.
"She's a great kid," next door neighbor Fedora Guerrero said. "Their family is a very beautiful family. They are hardworking parents. Yeah, I'm definitely in shock. Like, I can't believe it."
Police said those walking did not all know each other, and some were on their way home from nearby Francis Lewis High School.
Two 18-year-old men, one of whom may have been the intended target, were also shot.
They were both struck in the leg and taken to NY Presbyterian Queens in stable condition.
One of the bullets shattered Patrice Frederick's windshield barely 15 minutes after she had parked her car.
"I heard these rapid fire shots, and I was just saying to myself, 'That can't be what I think it is,'" she said. "Things are really out of hand, that now they're just coming into a nice, quiet residential neighborhood like this. And it's kids."
So far, no arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.
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In response to the nearby shooting, the Department of Education brought in a metal detector to check students entering school Thursday morning and recovered 20 weapons, like knives, in the unannounced screening.
No guns were recovered.
"You just got to hope she pulls through," junior Juanes Rojas said. "She's a 14-year-old girl. You feel like she didn't deserve that. She has a whole life ahead of her, that just happens to her. It's scary. You just got to watch who you hang with. To be honest, it's got to be a lesson to a lot of people. You can't be hanging with the wrong crew, because then you're in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The Education Department would not comment on the shooting.
"There should be no doubt that that keeping New York City safe is my top priority," Mayor Eric Adams said. "Our schools are safe because educators, school leaders, and School Safety Agents work in close coordination to create supportive environments for students where they can focus on their schoolwork and not their safety. While violent crimes and overall incidents in schools are down, we can and will always strive for safer schools. It is unacceptable for prohibited items to be taken to school, which is exactly why our School Safety Agents conduct random scans across the city every day. Today's random scanning at Francis Lewis High School turned up a number of prohibited items, but not a single gun. We will continue to focus on keeping our schools safe, so our young people can focus on learning."
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