Police fired at least 20 rounds during the shootout with a drug suspect Wednesday evening, hitting two bystanders at the scene, one of whom remains in critical condition, the NYPD said.
The 46-year-old woman, Irene Urena Perez, remains hospitalized after being shot in the stomach, and the other bystander, a 12-year-old girl, is in stable condition after bullet fragments hit her in the leg, police said.
Perez had been walking out of work at a day care in a building by West 183rd Street and Loring Place Wednesday evening when she was struck by one of the flying bullets, according to her co-worker, Josie Perez.
Josie Perez says the two of them had walked out of work together around 6 p.m., along with a child they care for -- but Josie forgot something and rushed back into the building. That's when she heard gunfire and ran out, picked up the little boy and took him back into the day care center.
Josie ran out again to find Irene on the ground, bleeding, and called 911.
Another witness, Anthony Bell, also called 911 when he saw the drug suspect running down the block, shooting at someone.
"I just heard 'bam, bam,' saw the guy running down the block," he told News 4 New York.
Police said officers fired at least 20 rounds after the suspect pulled out a gun and fired rounds inside a lobby in a building nearby during the shady drug deal.
"The suspect in this incident shot a firearm in the lobby of a building during an apparent drug rip-off robbery, and then fired twice on the street at an approaching officer who was attempting to arrest him," NYPD Sgt. Jessica McRorie said in a statement, adding the investigation remains ongoing by the Force Investigation Division.
The suspect, 37-year-old Edwin Castillo-Concepcion of the Bronx, was taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds to the neck and foot. He's expected to survive and is facing charges of attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
No police officers were shot during the shootout but they were taken to Jacobi Hospital for observation.
Bell believes police were reckless in shooting at the suspect.
"It doesn't matter" if the suspect opened fire first, Bell said. "If they didn't get hit, let the suspect go down the block. Catch him somewhere else. But don't start shooting where there's a crowd of people."
People in the neighborhood who knew Irene Perez said she's a "very nice lady, she always says hello."