A gunman wearing a Beatles shirt shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy at a Brooklyn community center named for a local congressman, police said Wednesday.
The victim and gunman got into a fight inside the lobby of the Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center on Bedford Ave. near President St. in Crown Heights about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, cops said.
The victim had just stepped into the building when he got into an argument with his rival, cops were told. As the fight escalated, the shooter pulled out a gun and opened fire. The victim was struck in the stomach and both arms.
Medics rushed the victim to Kings County Hospital, where he was initially in critical condition but has since been upgraded to stable.
The gun was recovered by responding police officers, along with shell casings.
The shooter — who was wearing a black Beatles shirt, black pants and red sneakers — got away.
The community center reopened Wednesday morning but staffers declined to speak to a reporter.
Parents of children who attend summer activities there received an email from center administrators saying the shooting was an “isolated incident.” The center will remain open as the investigation continues and the local NYPD precinct has assigned officers to monitor the center for the next two weeks, the email added.
“I don’t feel like the building should remain open with the situation going on,” Kelly George, 36, said as she passed the center Wednesday. “If there was an incident and someone got hurt, it doesn’t feel right to leave my kid.”
Residents and parents say this is the first time there’s been any violence at the center, which opened in 2021 and was named after Owens, the neighborhood’s former Congressman and education advocate who died in 2013.
Owens, 77, served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2007.
Most of the gun violence in the neighborhood occurs on Franklin Ave., local merchant Cordell Ettiene said.
“I never heard of anything crazy like that happening (here) before,” he said. “It’s shocking.”
The recreation center has been a boon to to the community, residents and parents said. In mid July, Mayor Adams visited the center to check on its progress and hang out with summer campers.
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“The rec center has been great. I can drop my son off and walk from home,” Eric Tyler said. “It’s a multicultural area so you see people from different backgrounds, which is great.”
Tyler, 40, called the Tuesday night shooting “unfortunate.”
“The kids and everyone are just trying to figure out what happened,” he added.
Parent Rodney Solomon, 42, said more police should be assigned to the area regularly since there are so many children going in and out of the center.
“There isn’t much police out here. What is the lackadaisical response to the area versus other area?” he asked. “A kids’ facility you would think the response would be more magnified. I don’t get it.”
“Like I tell my kid, ‘You can respond to people in different ways but their response you can’t control,’” he added.
Tuesday’s violence comes as shootings in the city dropped by 28% this year, from 1,046 last year to 750, according to NYPD statistics.