2007-09-28 / Front Page

Innocent Bystander Wounded In Hammels Shooting

By Howard Schwach

An unidentified Rockaway man, riding his bicycle on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 87 Street last Tuesday evening, was grazed in his upper right thigh by an errant bullet fired by a man who might have been involved in an argument at Rainbow Shop, a clothing store in the Dayton Plaza Shopping Center, earlier that day, police say.

"We know that the man who was shot was not the intended target of the shooter," a local police source told The Wave. "The poor guy was just riding his bike and was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The incident started at about 7 p.m. on September 25, when a lone police officer on foot patrol, hearing the shots and believing himself to be the target, called on his radio for a "Signal 13," police code for an officer who is in need of assistance.

The police radio quickly crackled with calls from police units throughout the peninsula who were responding to the call for help.

One of the radio cars found the unidentified 52-year-old male in front of the C-Town Supermarket. He was quickly transported to the Peninsula Hospital Center, where he was treated and released.

Police units also found at least one automobile, a block away from the shopping center, with a bullet hole in its door.

Aviation units as well as Emergency Service units were quickly dispatched to the scene and a Level One Mobilization was called for the parking lot of the shopping center, bringing police units from all over southern Queens.

Eyewitnesses told police that they saw three young men running from the scene towards the Hammel Houses, a public housing complex across the street from the shopping center.

Officers spread out into the housing complex, performing vertical patrols, looking for the shooters.

Detectives from the 100 Precinct Squad in Rockaway Park are investigating and officials say that they have some leads that they are following, but that no arrests are imminent.

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