A terrified mom confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio point-blank on Friday about a daylight shooting near his old Brooklyn neighborhood — and he quickly lapsed into talking points to downplay the city’s alarming surge in gun violence.
During de Blasio’s weekly appearance on WNYC radio, a caller who identified herself as “Nicole” said she had just parked her car with her preschooler son when bullets started flying around her just south of the Prospect Park Parade Grounds on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was right there when it happened,” she said, sounding still shaken from the incident.
“I was happy my 4-year-year old got in the house and they found bullet casings right by where I was standing, in addition to other places on the block.”
Nicole added, “I know gun violence has increased in our area,” but noted, “This is in broad daylight, 4 [o’clock] in the afternoon.”
“I’ve thought about this and I want to know, what’s being done? What’s being done?” she asked the mayor.
When the concerned-sounding host, Brian Lehrer, asked how safe she felt, Nicole said that “when I open the door, even to take the garbage outside or something like that, I very carefully look from one side to the other to the other.”
“And when I had to take my son down the block — I have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old — I carried him right in front of me so if we had to duck and cover, we could do that,” she said.
De Blasio, who owns a home just blocks away in Park Slope but lives in Manhattan’s city-owned Gracie Mansion, responded by saying, “Nicole, first of all, as a parent, I’m feeling what you’re saying very deeply.”
“It must have been terrifying and a parent’s first instinct, obviously, is anything to protect their children,” he said.
“So, I’m very sorry you went through that and I’m sure it was very upsetting.”
But Hizzoner then pivoted to rehash the remarks he’s been making since crime and shootings began spiking amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it comes back to this horrible combination of things we saw,” he said.
“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 also vowed that “this year is going to be very, very different because we’re going in the reverse direction, thank God.”
“So, it’s very upsetting, but I know we will turn the tide, and New York City has before and we will again,” he added.
The NYPD said the two people were wounded during the incident, which took place near the intersection of East 18th Street and Caton Avenue.
A 43-year-old woman walking on East 18th toward Caton was shot in the left thigh and a 53-year-old man walking south on East 18th was hit in the arm.
It was unclear if either victim was an intended target.
More than a dozen shell casings were found and the suspects got away in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, police sources said.
Last week, NYPD statistics showed a 40 percent annual increase in overall crime, with all but one of seven categories of major felonies on the rise.
The CompStat data also showed 27 people shot in 25 incidents between March 22 and March 28, compared to just nine victims in seven incidents during the same period in 2020.