One person was killed and four others injured during a wild shooting on a packed Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, on Thursday afternoon, the police said.
The shooting unfolded on a day when a mini-heat wave and a school holiday sent hordes of people to Coney Island and Brighton Beach, which were teeming with beachgoers — many of them teenagers — trying to escape temperatures approaching 100 degrees.
According to the authorities, a gunman opened fire on the Boardwalk near Brighton Sixth Street about 5:20 p.m., gravely wounding a man and a woman; the woman died at Coney Island Hospital, where the man was in critical condition. Three other people hit by bullets were also hospitalized; a man was in serious condition at Lutheran Medical Center. None of the victims’ names were released.
One person was being questioned in the shootings late Thursday, but the police said there had been no arrests.
The gunfire set off panic on the Boardwalk. Witnesses described throngs of people running and yelling as they scrambled for safety.
“It was pandemonium; everyone was screaming,” said Anastasiya Novikova, 16, who said she had heard five shots. She was on the Boardwalk with her boyfriend.
Another beachgoer, Saya Suzuki, 30, was about to sit in a restaurant on the Boardwalk with her 6-year-old daughter when the gunfire started. She said she heard at least five shots just outside, then saw a young man and a woman run by her.
“I just picked up my daughter and got away from the bullets,” Ms. Suzuki said. “It happened so quickly, and I had to protect my daughter.”
Terrified, Ms. Suzuki hunkered down and waited for two hours after the shooting before leaving the restaurant.
The police said it was unclear what had prompted the shooting or whether the victims — who the police said were in their late teens or 20s — were all intended targets.
One of the shots missed a woman who was watching television in her sixth-floor apartment on the corner of Brighton Sixth Street and the Boardwalk. The bullet went through a window, the woman, Marion Smith, said. She said that at first she thought the noise was from her air-conditioner. “I was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden the noise came out of a clear sky,” she said. “I never dreamt it was a bullet. Never in my whole life.”
Nicole Harris, 23, a security guard at Ms. Smith’s building, 3161 Brighton Sixth Street, said she was sitting at her desk overlooking Beach Sixth Street when the shooting began. “You heard five pops in the beginning, and everybody started running,” she said. “I saw a whole bunch of boys coming up in red shirts afterward.” She said she heard that a group of young women had started fighting shortly after the shooting.
Hector Ramos, the building’s superintendent, said it had 32 security cameras.
With temperatures soaring, the beach, often a magnet for sweltering New Yorkers, was especially packed on Thursday. Students had the day off for Brooklyn-Queens Day, a holiday on which many students flock to local beaches.