Cops need to “catch this bastard” who gunned down a fleeing man on a Bronx street inches from two young siblings, mayoral hopeful Eric Adams said Sunday — as one of the kids remained too traumatized to leave his father’s lap.
Adams, a former NYPD captain, issued the impassioned plea three days after the lowlife squeezed off at least a dozen rounds at his target, indifferent to the terrified 10-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy knocked to the ground by the victim amid the chaos.
“They were inches away. The guy leaned over and kept shooting,” said the mayoral frontrunner during a briefing at the scene on Sheridan Avenue near East Mt. Eden Avenue. “We need to catch this bastard.
“We need to get him,” continued Adams, a Democrat currently serving as Brooklyn borough president. “He needs to be off our streets. … He had a total disregard for those children.”
The dad of the tots was invited to join Adams at the Father’s Day briefing, but ultimately backed out — because his son remains too shaken up to leave his side.
“He said if he could get his son not to sit on his lap, he would have been willing to, but his son just won’t let him go,” said Adams, who met privately with the family before the presser. “His son held on to him throughout the entire time.”
Adams, who has positioned himself as the Democratic primary field’s law-and-order candidate, said that the nightmarish attack particularly shook him as a father.
“It is taking everything to keep myself together as a person with a son,” he said.
The children were on a stroll to a local bodega around 7 p.m. Thursday when they were caught up in a near-murder just outside the safety of their apartment building.
A 24-year-old man running for his life barreled into the kids from behind, sending all three sprawling onto the pavement as the masked gunman closed the distance, disturbing surveillance video released by the NYPD shows.
At close range, the shooter fired at least 12 rounds into the tangle of three bodies, striking his mark in the back and both legs — but miraculously missing both of the children.
Amid the mayhem, the girl, Mia, grabbed her kid brother in a heroic attempt to shield him from the bullets, said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., speaking at the same event as Adams.
“When this happened, her first instinct was to protect her brother,” said Diaz, calling her “the bravest little soul you’ll ever meet,” and noting that she aspires to be a police officer when she grows up.
The gunshot victim is expected to survive.
Though the children were not physically harmed, Adams said that their emotional damage is bad enough.
“They don’t want to be on the same block anymore. Those children can’t go back to the store,” said Adams, who has put forward $2,000 of his own money as a reward to catch the creep responsible. “They will never be the same.”
That trauma extends to the kids’ parents, who, Adams said, watched in horror from their apartment window as their children lay in the line of fire.
“These two babies were going to a store to buy a loaf of bread and this family looked out the window and saw their children being shot at,” he said. “What are we doing right now for these communities? They shouldn’t have to live this way.”