UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police increased patrols outside schools in Manhattan on Wednesday after a series of possibly connected shootings left three people injured.
Shots rang out at three locations Tuesday: the Upper West Side, Harlem and East Harlem. Two of those shootings happened outside schools.
In one case, a suspect under arrest is believed to be a gang member and police have reason to suspect all the shootings are tied together in some way.
That suspect, 19-year-old Cheick Coulibaly, faces several charges, including attempted murder, after police say he shot a 17-year-old student multiple times near 68th and Amsterdam.
Police say the suspect, believed to be a former classmate of the victim, has three prior arrests, including two arrests for narcotics in 2023. The suspect was out on bail in a 2021 armed robbery case.
Multiple schools were briefly placed on lockdown even though the shooting happened outside the school.
"It's honestly a bit scary to hear about that, especially since we were inside of the school they didn't tell us," said student Freimy Garcia. "It was a bit unexpected and we were just scared in the sense that what was going to happen to us."
VIDEO | NYPD gives update after teen shot near school:
Two more people were shot at 129th and Madison outside the Harlem Renaissance High School, including a 16-year-old boy and a 27-year-old bystander.
Police say they do not believe the 27-year-old victim was the intended target in this shooting.
Police also investigating a shots fired incident at 105th and Park. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Investigators say they suspect gang involvement and believe all the incidents may somehow be related.
"Right now we are proceeding like they're all connected, why do I say that? The proximity, geography, around schools, age of our victims and now we've confirmed at least one incident, this incident here, is gang motivated," said NYPD Chief John Chell.
Police say they are still looking for additional suspects as that stepped up security continues.
Schools Chancellor David Banks on Wednesday said the Department of Education can do more to support students following shootings near public schools -- which are increasing in frequency.
He said students are bringing weapons to school, not to use them inside the buildings, but "to protect themselves as they going to and from school."
The NYPD will increase police outside the schools, including providing safe passage for students blocks away, but Banks vowed, "we are not going to militarize our schools, we are not bringing the police into our schools."
Faith leaders were also on campus Wednesday to pray for the safety of the students.
"We're coming right to the place where this violence takes place to say you cannot have our streets, you cannot have our children and our young people," said anti-violence activist Pastor Jeff Crenshaw.
At the prayer vigil outside the Marin Luther King High school complex, Pastor Michelle Sweeting Decaro, whose son attends the school, said it's important for kids to talk about what happened with counselors, and resources for parents wouldn't hurt either.
"How do you speak to your child when they come home and there's been a shooting outside of their school and they've had a lockdown inside their classroom?" she said. "I'll be honest. I didn't want him to come to school today. Because I was afraid that something was going to happen."
The 17-year-old victim is recovering and Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Rincon spoke briefly to his mother. She also spoke with the innocent bystander shot in the leg at the other shooting near a school yesterday in Harlem. He's in a lot of pain and neither were ready to speak publicly.
According to data obtained by Eyewitness News, 4,068 weapons were seized from New York City schools between September 2022 to March 2023.