BRONX, New York (WABC) -- A baby girl shot in the face by a stray bullet in the Bronx turned 1 Friday, and loved ones are being joined by anti-gun violence activists at a vigil in her honor.
Instead of celebrating with her family, Baby Catherine remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
"We want to stop what's on the street, and damn it, we want to stop it from coming on our streets," Mayor Eric Adams said. "Why are there so many guns in our community?"
The "Community Prayer Vigil for Catherine" was held on East 198 Street and Valentine Avenue, with the community coming together to say, "Stop the Violence."
"We stand here because the Bronx is on fire," City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said. "The Bronx is on fire. But we stand here to say we are going to extinguish that fire."
The mayor and speaker were among more than 200 political leaders, community activists and ordinary citizens demanding solutions to the rising tide of shootings that have killed and wounded dozens of people in recent weeks.
"This is a state of emergency," Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said. "This is a crisis and a call for action and attention. so we can't just be about words, family. We have to be about action."
The shooting happened Wednesday evening, when a gunman fired two shots at another man during a chase from Grand Concourse onto Valentine Avenue.
One of those bullets struck Catherine, who was sitting in a car with her mother as her father shopped in a nearby deli.
"We're here for baby Catherine," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. "Today is her one year birthday, and she's celebrating it in a hospital room."
Anti-violence activist Erica Ford insists that -- despite the headlines -- the tide is turning.
"Miracles don't happen overnight," she said. "The people are expected to work more. The people are getting on the ground and working more and more with these young people, and things have changed. It just takes time, just like it took some time to get to where we are."
"You could continue to go out there and think you're going to get away with it, but you're not going to get away with it," Clark said. "We're going to find you eventually, because we're not going to stop looking."
Police released surveillance video showing the shooting, with the gunman seen running down the street in a chaotic scene.
"We're not going to stop looking," Clark said. "There are consequences when you do things, and I'm going to make sure that you're held accountable for the things and the harm that you do to the people in my county."
The mother called 911, and officers found her holding her baby outside of the car and quickly escorted the parents and ambulance to the hospital.
Clark acknowledged that people feel helpless in what feels like an onslaught of violent crime.
"I don't want to think that, you know, we're at point of no return," she said. "We can turn this around. It's bad. I can't say, 'Well, you know, it's not as bad as everybody says.' It's bad, OK? People are dying. The Bronx is bleeding because people are dying from the shootings. We had 500 shootings in the Bronx last year. I had 146 homicides in the Bronx, overwhelmingly by guns. This is unsustainable, right? And we need help."
Mayor Adams also held a briefing and delivered emotional remarks on the horrific incident and the recent surge in violent crimes plaguing the city.
"I'm going to stay in these streets until this city is safe," he said. "I'm not going to surrender this city to violence. I'm not going to lead from the rear. I'm going to lead from the front."
The motive for this shooting still under investigation, and no arrests have been made. Sources tell Eyewitness News that tips have been slow to come in, even after the release of the video.
Police are searching for both the gunman and the other person who was his intended target.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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