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Bystander Dies After Getting Caught In Crossfire At Brooklyn Park; 'Get The Guns Off The Street', Victim's Wife Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An innocent man is dead after he was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight in Brooklyn.

Police said Christopher Ross, 53, was on the handball court at Lincoln Terrace Park in Crown Heights when he was shot in the head and killed by a stray bullet, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.

It happened just before 6 p.m. Sunday.

"He's just gone, senselessly. He kissed me, he told me he loved me, he said, 'I'll be back,' and I never saw him. He never came back," said Ross's wife Veronica Peters, who could barely stand, sobbing and overcome by the grief of losing the love of her life.

Peters said her husband loved handball and had gone out to play that afternoon.

MORE: Tracking Shootings In New York City

Police sources told CBS2 Ross was an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire between two groups who opened fire on each other after getting into an argument near the courts.

"We heard the gunshots 'cause he was right there... there were more people in the park. They got up and they just started running outside the park. And that's when we left," said Ezekiel Edwards.

"It's ridiculous. I just feel like people need to stop. The violence is getting really crazy," said Fredline Mayers, a Canarsie resident.

Peters said her husband was a doting grandfather and a protector in the neighborhood.

"Anybody could call him with a problem. He would run to help you. He would do the best he can for anybody. He would give the shirt off his back, and they just took him away," said Peters.

Ross's death comes as violence continues to climb in the city. Murders are up 29 percent compared to 2019. A 27-year-old man was killed at the same park in the daytime last month.

"There's literally nothing I can do to stop anyone from doing what they're doing," said Mayers. "I just wish they would stop, or not do it where kids are."

"It's getting crazy out here and, we need more police. We really do," said Indira Belen, of Crown Heights.

Peters made a similar plea.

"Get the guns off the street. The guns killing us. They killing every black person," she said.

People who stopped by the park to light a candle for Ross on Monday said, without change, they believe there will only be more memorials for innocent victims of gun violence.

So far, there are no arrests. Police are offering a $2,500 reward to anyone with information that leads to one.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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