19-year-old woman killed in Flatiron District as NYC shootings continue to soar

FLATIRON, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 19-year-old woman was killed and a man injured after gunfire erupted during an argument in Manhattan's Flatiron District, as New York City continues to see the number of shootings skyrocket.

It happened after 12:30 a.m. Friday on Fifth Avenue at West 26th Street near Madison Square Park.

The woman, Erica Lopez, was shot in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 21-year-old man, identified as Andrew Arias, was wounded in the leg and is hospitalized in stable condition.

Both victims are Connecticut residents, the woman from Norwich and the man from Norwalk.

The gunman drove off in the wrong direction on Fifth Avenue before turning onto a side street.

Two residents told Eyewitness News that with violent incidents on the rise lately, they no longer feel safe in the area.

So far there have been no arrests.

The shooting incident took place just several hours after another shooting in East Harlem on Thursday night.

Marlene Joaquin was standing on the corner of East 102nd Street.

She was unpacking her trunk with her three kids beside her, when all of a sudden gunfire erupted.

"We hear five consecutive gunshots just go off," Joaquin said. "So it was crazy we thought it was fireworks."

Joaquin says there was a group of teens standing next to her.

According to police, the intended target, a 19-year-old man who was shot in the leg, was in the group. Officials say he is not cooperating with police.

As for 7-year-old Kaylee Joaquin, so young, she doesn't fully understand just how lucky she is.

She was grazed by a bullet in the back of her right thigh.

Joaquin's daughter is one of dozens of victims struck by gunfire this week alone.

The Flatiron shooting was one of seven incidents that have happened since midnight Friday, that have left eight people dead or injured.

In addition to the deadly Flatiron shooting:
--12:30 a.m.: Man shot in abdomen outside 4648 Park Avenue in the Bronx
--1:43 a.m.: 25-year-old man shot in the right leg and right arm outside 919 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn
--2:15 a.m.: 36-year-old man apparently shot himself during a dispute with a 39-year-old woman outside 69-34 Elizabeth Avenue in Far Rockaway, Queens. He was grazed to the left side of his back, is hospitalized, and is in custody.
--2:59 a.m.: 21-year-old woman shot in the left calf in front of 310 East 113th Street in East Harlem. Unknown man and woman on scooter pulled up, opened fire and fled
--4:30 a.m.: 18-year-old woman was watching fireworks when she heard shots and felt pain outside 2591 Briggs Avenue in the Bronx. She was grazed in left cheek and was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital.
--Just before 4 p.m.: 32-year-old man was shot in the back on East 113th and Second Avenue. He is expected to survive.

Authorities say there have been 571 shooting victims in 477 incidents so far this year, compared to 393 victims in 345 incidents at this point in 2019.

Additionally, 70 people were shot in the past week compared to 26 the same week last year.

"We have a problem that's profound with the court system not functioning, we have issues raised before I'm going to talk to the DA that we need gun prosecutions to happen consistently with the problem of the parole system and individuals coming out of state prisons coming back to their communities, without proper support," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor on Friday, denied the uptick in violence is tied to the NYPD pulling back and is standing by his decision to disband the anti-crime unit.

"I also know those officers did a lot to get guns off the streets," Mayor de Blasio said. "It was a balance that needed to be considered at all times."

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