GHS graduate wounded by stray bullet in NYC

PHOTOGRAPHER:
Poulin

NEW YORK — A 2017 Gloversville High School graduate was hit by a stray bullet while visiting Times Square with his family on Sunday.

Samuel Poulin, 21, was struck by the bullet at about 5:15 p.m. while walking near the intersection of West 45th Street and Broadway with family members, according to the New York Police Department.

Poulin is a second lieutenant who was recently commissioned into the Marine Corps after graduating from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., on May 9.

Poulin suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was shot in the back, police officials said.

In an Associated Press report, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised Monday to dramatically boost the number of police officers in Times Square after a man reportedly visiting with his family was shot and wounded.

It was the second shooting in two months at the famous Manhattan tourist attraction and a high-profile setback for the city as it begins welcoming back tourists after a yearlong pandemic lockdown.

“The bottom line is we are going to flood the zone in Times Square with additional officers to make sure this situation is resolved once and for all,” the mayor said at a morning briefing. “We have more and more activity out there, more and more jobs coming back, more and more tourists coming back. They have to be safe and they have to feel safe.“

In Sunday’s incident, a man fired several shots during a “heated argument” with other people and the unidentified victim was hit by one of the bullets that ricocheted, said police Chief of Department Rodney Harrison.

A family member plucked the bullet out of the victim’s back and gave it to an officer, police said. No one else was hurt in the shooting.

The officers in Times Square will focus on stepping up enforcement against illegal solicitations and panhandling, a longstanding issue at the crowded crossroads. Some of the officers will work undercover, according to city officials.

The shooting took place near the site of a May 8 shooting that wounded two women and a 4-year-old girl. A man was later arrested in Florida following that shooting and charged with attempted murder.

Police said Sunday’s shooting followed a dispute outside the Minskoff Theatre, where performances of “The Lion King” will start back in September after the coronavirus pandemic shut Broadway down. Published reports said the dispute may have involved street peddlers.

Hot dog vendor Salma Elkordy told the Daily News that bystanders bolted in terror after the shooting.

“I started to see people running. At first I didn’t think anything of it,” Elkordy said. “Shortly after, I saw the caution tape. They blocked off the area, and shortly after the ambulance responded. I saw a big crowd of people and I knew somebody got shot.”

Police have made no arrests.

The New York Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying those involved with the shooting.

Police were searching for the suspect Monday. Police released a photo and video of the alleged suspect Monday via Twitter and asked the public to help identify him.

In addition to graduating from The Citadel and commissioning into the Marines, Poulin was married last month, according to an official at the military school.

“The Citadel family — in Charleston, South Carolina and around the world — is greatly saddened to learn about what happened to our Class of 2021 graduate, 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Poulin in Times Square on Sunday when he was hit by a bullet from a shooting event unrelated to him,” said The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.) in a news release. “We are encouraged that he is reported to be in stable condition are sending our prayers and our love to his new wife and his family. 2nd Lieutenant Poulin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, was a President’s List cadet and exemplifies the kind of principled leader The Citadel strives to produce.”

By Monday afternoon, Poulin had been released from the hospital and was recovering, the New York Post reported.

Those with any information about the shooting are asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

By Paul Wager