A group of fifth graders was shot at with pellet guns on an Upper East Side playground Friday after one boy became upset about a game, according to parents at a nearby school.
The incident happened at 4 p.m. Friday at the Parks Department’s Samuel Seabury Playground behind the Lower Lab School on Third Avenue and East 96th Street, according to a message sent out by the school’s PTA presidents.
The fifth graders were playing ball when the slightly older boy joined them. the message said.
“At some point, this boy became upset by the rules and motioned as such to his friends, who came over with pellet guns and began shooting a number of the kids,” according to the message.
A parent chased away the gun-toting youngsters, according to the PTA note, which said a police report had been filed.
“They chased a little kid to the back [of the playground] and they kept shooting at him, and he tried to hide behind a rock. One of the parents went up to them and tried to tell them to stop and to get the gun away from them, but they started hitting him with the gun, started shooting at him and threatening him, and saying death threats,” said Richard Cruz, who works for “Kids in Motion,” a Parks Department youth program. “They weren’t listening to any kind of authority.”
He said one parent was shot multiple times in the face and back, and four or five kids were shot, including one in the leg. He noted there was “no blood, but there were a lot of bruises.”
Cruz called the kid’s local troublemakers and said they recently tried to lock him in a supply room next to the park bathroom.
A Department of Education spokesman referred questions to the NYPD, which could not immediately provide information on the incident.
In addition to the Lower Lab School, which offers a gifted and talented program, the building also houses PS 198, a zoned community school.
In June, 20-year-old mom Azsia Johnson was shot to death near the playground while pushing her youngest child in a stroller. Her former boyfriend was charged with the heinous crime.
“Albany needs to urgently change the laws that are making our children unsafe before another tragedy happens,” said Danyela Souza Egorov, a Lower Lab parent and a member of the District 2 Community Education Council.