Eastern Alphabet City is abuzz with stories about a series of BB gun incidents, which culminated last week when a "sniper" of sorts shot at least eight people from a high window in the Lillian Wald houses on Avenue D. According to the Daily News, which reported the incident yesterday, car windows were smashed and more than eight people were slightly wounded. They may actually mean a pellet gun, not a BB gun — in our experience growing up in the country, BBs are neither big or forceful enough to pierce skin or break a car window from over, say, 60 feet. However, we don't know what kind of hopped-up BB guns they may be making these days, let alone selling on Avenue D. (Also, in our country experience, squirrels in the neighborhood should really start watching their backs.)
Times writer and heir A.G. Sulzberger was sent to check out the story yesterday, and found that people in the neighborhood are indeed a bit freaked out. "I think he was just shooting at random, at whomever he thought he could hit," said Edward Gilyard, who had to go to the doctor to get two metal pellets removed from his head. "For what reason? Nobody knows." There are rumors spreading around like wildfire about the incident: that it's a bored teenager getting his kicks, that cops have been targeted, that more than a dozen people have been wounded. Our favorite (false) one, of course, was the inevitable one told to Sulzberger by 15-year-old Lester Jones: that somebody got his eye shot out.
BB Gun Shootings by Sniper Put Alphabet City on Edge [NYT]
BB-gun thug terrorizing E. Side block [NYDN]
Meanwhile, the headlines on these two stories are a study in the difference between tabloid and broadsheet journalism.