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Police Commissioner O'Neill Implores Public To Provide Information In Rash Of Stray-Bullet Shootings

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They are dodging bullets and fearing for their lives.

Many New Yorkers are concerned after eight shootings this month have left at least 10 innocent victims wounded by stray bullets.

On June 4, a 15-year-old girl was shot in thigh while sitting on a bench on a basketball court in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She survived.

A person of interest is in custody following a stray bullet shooting that injured two innocent bystanders, including an 11-year-old boy, in Brooklyn. (CBS2)

There were two incidents on June 5 -- A 7-year-old boy was shot in the leg in the Bronx and two elderly women were hit while sitting in their home in Queens.

On June 7, a woman was shot in the arm in East Harlem.

On June 10, a man was killed while out walking his dog in Hamilton Heights.

On June 12, a woman was shot in the arm in the Bronx.

On June 20, an 11-year-old boy and a 31-year-old man were shot in Crown Heights. The boy might be paralyzed.

And this past Sunday there was a triple shooting in the Bronx. At least one of those victims was an innocent bystander.

CBS2's Hazel Sanchez asked NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill about all the shootings.

"It's a tragedy when anybody gets shot, but it's particularly tragic when it's an innocent bystander," O'Neill said.

MORENYPD Chief Says Rash Of Stray-Bullet Shootings Makes His "Blood Boil"; Department Launches Initiatives

O'Neill said he and the department are not taking the rash of stray-bullet shootings lightly.

"Over the years, crime, violence specifically, has gone down tremendously. But that doesn't matter to a family that's affected by a shooting," O'Neill said.

Jayden Grant
Jayden Grant, 11, was struck by a stray bullet and may be paralyzed from the waist down. (credit: Family Handout)

Particularly the family of 11-year-old Jayden Grant. His grandparents, Leon and Bessie Grant, said he may never walk again after being hit in the chest by a stray bullet in Crown Heights last Thursday.

"Nobody should get shot, but when it happens to a child, an innocent child who's just waiting for his father, it just makes you so angry," Bessie Grant said.

"This gun violence is out of hand now," Leon Grant added.

The NYPD says shootings are down 31 percent over the last few years, but O'Neill said he realizes that's little consolation.

"Whether it's 50 shootings or 5,000 shootings, if you're personally affected, if you hear about that, if that's in your neighborhood, that's not going to make you feel safe," O'Neill said. "That's why we've completely pivoted from the way we used to do business at the precinct level. That's why we have the same cops every day in the same sectors. We have the NCOs to make sure that we can do our best to identify the people in this city that are involved in violence and crime."

Police say gangs and drugs are to blame for many of the shootings. O'Neill said curbing gun violence is a job the department can't do alone.

"We have to work with everybody in New York City to make sure that if they have information about who has a gun, who is involved in violence and crime, who is involved in a gang or crew, I think there's a responsibility for everybody in this city to help us reduce these incidents," O'Neill said.

The Grants say police need to step up their effort, because the victims and their families are not the only ones affected.

"It changes your whole life. It changes not only Jaden's life; it changes his whole family's life and even the community, too," Bessie Grant said.

Police said they've already solved four of the eight shootings involving an innocent person this month.

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