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World & Nation

Toddler, 5 others hurt in playground drive-by shooting in Brooklyn

NEW-YORK--A 2-year-old girl was among six people shot when a car drove past a playground and sprayed it with bullets, the third time this month that a toddler has become a victim of a summer spate of shootings across New York City.

None of the victims of Sunday evening’s shooting in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn was killed, but the incident illuminated the problem of gun violence in a city where overall crime has seen a steady decline for years, but where shootings remain stubbornly resistant to the trend.

Earlier this month, a 4-year-old boy, Lloyd Morgan, was shot dead on a playground in the Bronx, and a man was wounded. Two men and a 17-year-old boy have been arrested in that incident and charged with crimes that include murder and criminal possession of a weapon. A week earlier, a 3-year-old boy was shot in the leg when shots rang out as he played outside. He is back at home recovering.

In addition, police are investigating the death of a 14-year-old boy whose father found him shot dead in a park last Thursday, after he had gone there to play tennis and apparently was hit by a stray bullet.

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Advocates of tighter gun control, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say the incidents underscore the need for tougher laws to keep weapons off the streets and out of potential criminals’ hands. New York has some of the country’s strictest rules governing the purchase and use of guns, but Bloomberg says other states’ laxer laws permit people to bring guns over state lines into New York.  The car allegedly used in the Sunday night shooting had Florida license plates.

Bloomberg, the co-founder of a coalition of hundreds of U.S. mayors pushing for tighter gun control called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, called on President Obama and Mitt Romney to stand up for new gun laws after the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting that killed 12 people.

“You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” Bloomberg, an independent, said during a radio interview with WOR radio in New York on July 20. Listen to the entire interview here.

The issue of how to curb gun violence sparked sniping from across the Hudson River, where New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused Bloomberg and other elected officials of trying to “grandstand” on the Aurora shooting. “I’m not going to be one of those people,” said Christie, a Republican and strong Romney supporter. “Can we at least get through the initial grief and tragedy for these families before we start making them political pawns?”

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His words sparked an angry response from Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New York’s Long Island, whose husband, Dennis, was killed and son Kevin critically wounded in 1993 when a gunman opened fire on passengers on a Long Island Railroad commuter train. Six people died in the rampage.

“To say that we are grandstanding because people are killed, or we’re grandstanding because some of us know what it feels like to watch our son learn how to walk again … I own that right to speak here,” McCarthy said in response to Christie. “I have the right to try to reduce gun violence in this country because I’ve been through it.”

On Monday, McCarthy and other gun safety advocates in New York plan a news conference to announce the introduction of legislation that would strengthen the rules governing online sales of ammunition.

James E. Holmes, the Colorado shooting suspect who was due in court in Colorado on Monday morning, purchased thousands of rounds on ammunition online.  

tina.susman@latimes.com


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