Man critical after being shot in the head in Washington Heights fish restaurant

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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Police looking for gunman in restaurant shooting
Darla Miles is in Washington Heights with the latest.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man was shot in the face during a frightening holdup in a fish restaurant in Washington Heights, one of several shootings overnight.

The 37-year-old victim was shot once inside the Seafood King Fish Market on Broadway just before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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The shocking moments were caught on surveillance video.

Police say the suspect walked into the restaurant and went to the bathroom. When he came out, he pointed a gun at the cashier and took her phone before going to the victim's table.

The victim was sitting in the restaurant when the suspect demanded his money and cellphone. The suspect then pulled a gun, pointed it at his head, and fired.

He was struck once in the upper cheek and was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in critical condition.

"I don't know if the victim saw it coming, the victim just had his property taken, cell phone and money while he was eating, and I'm sure he was watching the encounter with the second victim who was an employee at the location," said Lt. John Russo with the Commander Investigative Coordinator Detective Bureau. "And it just seemed as the perpetrator was running out the door, he turned around and fired a shot, striking the victim in the hood."

Manny Reyes said he grew up with the victim.

"It was shocking," Reyes said. "He was eating and turns around to wipe his mouth shut and is shot. I hope they get guy who did it."

Authorities say the suspect ran off. He was described as about 5'5 with a medium complexion and was said to have been wearing a black mask and black clothing.

Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect Wednesday night.

Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect Wednesday night.

Of particular interest is a blue handgun, police say the suspect used in the robbery.

"We've recovered one 9-millimeter shell casing at the scene," Russo said. "You know, we'll forensically process that to see if it matches any of the shell casings on the face and that it doesn't appear to fit any other robberies or patterns that we have going on in the area."

The victim was one of at least four people shot in New York City since late Tuesday night.

In Brooklyn, a man was shot and killed in Bedford-Stuyvesant around 10:30 p.m. Additionally, there was a double shooting in East Harlem shortly before midnight.

No arrests have been made in those other shootings.

An investigation is ongoing.

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