NEW YORK, NY — The city recorded its lowest murder count in four decades last year – but violence erupted Tuesday just hours into 2008.
Three people were shot dead and another was fatally stabbed.
Cops were targeted, but not hit, by gunfire at three separate scenes, and at least five people were shot and wounded, all before sunrise, police said.
One of the injured was 11-year-old Destiny Rosario, a schoolgirl who was headed home from a party with her family when a bullet grazed her head in Morrisania, the Bronx, about 3:50 a.m.
“We were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Destiny’s mother, Eileen Jordan, 30. “Thank God she’s going to be all right.”
The city recorded its first murder of the year about 2:10 a.m., when Samuel Schley, 26, was shot in front of a Brownsville, Brooklyn, housing project, cops said.
An hour later, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death during a rumble at a Bronx intersection as he went to fetch a late-night snack with his brother in Morris Heights, police and family said.
Kenneth McClinton was stabbed twice in the chest and pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital 40 minutes later.
About 3:30 a.m., Allan Atkins, 28, was gunned down in a fight at a New Year’s Eve party in East Tremont, the Bronx, police said.
The string of murders was capped by the 5:15 a.m. shooting of a 31-year-old man outside a building in Longwood, the Bronx. His name was not released.
No arrests were made in any of the slayings.
Just after midnight, cops shot a suspect in the backside during an exchange of gunfire on Davidson Ave. in Morris Heights, the Bronx, officials said.
The wounded man, Tykquan Dawson, 20, ran into a building, where he ditched a 9-mm. handgun, police sources said.
He was later found in a pal’s apartment and arrested on charges including attempted murder, cops said.
And shots were fired from a Harlem rooftop about 12:40 a.m. as cops tried to break up a fight on Lenox Ave.
The officers were not struck, although one bullet hit a squad car, cops said.
At the same time, NYPD officers on patrol in West Farms, the Bronx, were jolted by a gunman who shot at their car and fled. No arrests were made in either incident.
On New Year’s Day last year, one person was killed and nine were wounded.
The year before, four people were killed.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly lauded his force Tuesday for last year’s murder tally, which fell below 500 for the first time since the department began keeping reliable records in 1963.
“Yes, you set crimefighting records,” Kelly said. “But more importantly, you saved lives, often at risk to your own.”
Murders for 2007 totaled 494, including 18 homicides in which people previously injured died last year.