Two people were shot on Thursday night while dining outside at New York’s famed Peter Luger steakhouse, as shootings in the city soar 76 per cent, year on year.
Thursday’s shooting saw two innocent bystanders injured, when a family feud spilled over at the Williamsburg restaurant, which opened in 1887.
The gunfire broke out at about 9:45pm – before the rowing family members had even eaten their food, The New York Post reported.
Two diners at a table of 11 got into a heated argument, and one of them, a 24-year-old man, pulled a gun and started firing toward his rival.
New York Police Department officers are seen outside the Peter Luger steak house on Thursday
Officers were on the scene in moments, after gunfire broke out at 9:45pm on Thursday
Peter Luger steak house is a New York institution, having opened in 1887
Instead of hitting his target, two men eating outside were hit – a 30-year-old struck in the shoulder, and a 57-year-old hit in the stomach.
Both men were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where they were expected to survive, the paper reported.
With servers and customers ducking for cover, someone inside the steakhouse called 911, and police officers monitoring a nearby anti-police demonstration responded in seconds.
The gunman was arrested with the help of his cousin, who identified him.
The gun was recovered from a garbage can around the block, on South 10th Street, police said.
The shooting came as New York City continues to reel from a surge in gun violence.
The week that ended on Monday was the bloodiest so far this year, with 50 people shot across the city.
That is a 257 per cent spike from the same time last year, when the pandemic forced New Yorkers into their homes.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, is accused by critics of ignoring gun violence in the city
The weekend was particularly violent.
From 12am on Friday until midnight on Sunday, 31 people were wounded in 28 shootings, and six killed.
Earlier this month, a concerned Brooklyn mother called Nicole confronted the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, during a radio phone-in about shootings, and asked him: ‘What’s being done?’
The mayor blamed COVID-19 for the crime spike, saying: ‘I think it comes back to this horrible combination of things we saw, you know, people didn’t have jobs, almost a million people lost their jobs, schools were closed, houses of worship were closed. Things really were falling apart.’
De Blasio went on to hail reopening measures, which he claims will cut crime as people return to work, and also cited his ‘community based solutions to gun violence.’
He cited two anti-gun crime initiatives, called Cure Violence Movement and Crisis Management System.
Cure’s website claims it ‘leverages young men of color’ to act as ‘credible messengers of an anti-violence message’ in areas hit hard by gun crime.
Crisis Management System deploys mediators to try and cool down brewing conflicts before they spill into violence, and connect ‘high risk individuals’ to services aimed at stopping them from offending.
De Blasio oversaw in June a $1 billion reduction in New York Police Department’s $6 billion budget, at the height of the ‘defund the police’ protests.
The deal involved moving school safety agents, who are unarmed but wear police uniforms, into the Department of Education; canceling a July class of roughly 1,100 police recruits; and shifting certain homeless outreach operations away from police control.
Critics say it has made the city less safe.
De Blasio has been met with widespread disdain by New York’s officers, and will complete his second and final term as mayor in office in November.