Stray bullet hits 2 friends riding in taxi in Midtown Manhattan

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Monday, July 4, 2022
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Two men were struck by a stray bullet while in the back of a taxi early Saturday morning. Sonia Rincon has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Two men were struck by a stray bullet while in the back of a taxi early Saturday morning.

Samy Shelbaya, 22, and Nicalus Franklyn, 24, split a cab with two other friends on the way back from a concert at the Brooklyn Mirage.

The driver was stopped at a red light on West 37th Street in Midtown Manhattan when shots rang out.

The passengers thought it could have been fireworks, but that's when two of the friends felt a jolt of pain in their arms.

Shelbaya had been shot in his right arm and Franklyn shot in his left arm.

The livery cab pulled over around the corner, as they began to realize what happened.

"I was screaming in panic because I was like, I don't know what's going on," Shelbaya said. "Cause like, what we first thought were fireworks we ended up realizing were gunshots. We didn't see anybody, we didn't know, so imagine being like, blind."

Police say an unidentified suspect fired shots at a group of people and missed, striking the friends instead.

While Shelbaya only needed a few stitches since the bullet went through his arm, Franklyn needed surgery for a shattered bone in his arm.

The two are good friends and also rugby teammates, and they won't be able to play for a while.

Shelbaya said he and Franklyn have gone through all the "what ifs" and don't want to dwell on them.

This happened only a few blocks from Shelbaya's Midtown apartment.

Does it make me scared? Yeah, it does," Shelbaya said. "But I'm in a safe area, I know that I'll be safe and I know that this is an accident, and just gotta stay positive. Because if everyone was to think like that, then no one would go outside, no one would walk, no one would be happy, so just might as well keep staying positive and keep having a positive outlook on life."

Shelbaya is leaving the city Monday for medical school and says he's ready for a change of scene.

As for who shot them, Shelbaya joked that he has a better idea who shot Biggie and Tupac.

But he hopes the police figure out who the gunman was in this case and find him so that he doesn't hurt anyone else.

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