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Man wanted in Times Square shooting arrested outside McDonald’s in Starke

VIDEO: A man identified by police as the suspected shooter in an incident in Times Square that wounded a 4-year-old girl and two women was arrested in Starke by US Marshals, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said.
VIDEO: A man identified by police as the suspected shooter in an incident in Times Square that wounded a 4-year-old girl and two women was arrested in Starke by US Marshals, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said.

STARKE, Fla. – A man identified by police as the suspected shooter in an incident in Times Square that wounded a 4-year-old girl and two women was arrested Wednesday in Starke by US Marshals, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said.

Farrakhan Muhammad and a woman were taken into custody at the McDonald’s on U.S. 301 in Starke and were being taken to the Bradford County jail, deputies said.

“While there is no joy today, there is justice,” New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said during a news conference.

Police said three bystanders were hit by bullets shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday near West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square in New York City.

Wendy Magrinat, a 23-year-old tourist visiting from Rhode Island, was shot in the leg. A 43-year-old woman from New Jersey was shot in the foot. The 4-year-old girl, from Brooklyn, was also shot in the leg.

In this image taken from video by the FDNY, pedestrians hurry away from the scene of a shooting in Times Square, Saturday, May 8, 2021, in New York. New York City police say three innocent bystanders including a 4-year-old girl who was toy shopping have been shot in Times Square and officers are looking for suspects. All the victims are expected to recover. (FDNY via AP) (FDNY)

Magrinat, who was in the city for a Mother’s Day trip, told the Daily News she was screaming, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I have a 2-year-old,” after being hit by a bullet that will remain lodged in her leg for the rest of her life.

Muhammad was apparently aiming for his brother, but investigators haven’t yet pinpointed the motive, chief of detectives James Essig said. He said the brothers apparently both sold CDs in the Times Square area.

Police released videos and photos of Muhammad and asked the public for help tracking him down. His family made a public plea for him to turn himself in.

Officers identified Muhammad as a suspect within hours and soon realized he was heading south, Essig said.

The search for the suspected Times Square shooter comes to an end in Bradford County. U.S. Marshalls took 31 year old Farrakhan Muhammad and his girlfriend, 22 year old Kristine Vergara into custody at a McDonalds in Starke Wednesday afternoon.
The search for the suspected Times Square shooter comes to an end in Bradford County. U.S. Marshalls took 31 year old Farrakhan Muhammad and his girlfriend, 22 year old Kristine Vergara into custody at a McDonalds in Starke Wednesday afternoon.

Video then captured Muhammad and a woman, believed to be his girlfriend, buying dog food and other supplies at a store in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Meanwhile, investigators realized he had connections to some addresses in Florida.

A U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force caught up with the two on Wednesday as they were eating lunch in a car outside a McDonald’s in Starke, Florida, police said. Two dogs were also in the car.

Also taken into custody was Kristine Vergara, 22, who’s believed to be his girlfriend. She was charged with accessory after the fact. Investigators said she was questioned by the U.S. Marshals Service about Muhammad, and that she told investigators she agreed to bring him to Florida.

News4Jax visited Vergara’s listed address. No one answered the door.

“Hopefully justice is served,” said Amanda Canada, a neighbor.

Muhammad had shaved off some of his hair, Essig said. He’s expected to make a court appearance Thursday morning and will eventually be extradited back to New York.

A man identified by police as the suspected shooter in an incident in Times Square that wounded a 4-year-old girl and two women was arrested Wednesday in Starke by US Marshals, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said.
A man identified by police as the suspected shooter in an incident in Times Square that wounded a 4-year-old girl and two women was arrested Wednesday in Starke by US Marshals, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said.

About the Authors:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.

Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.