A gunman opened fire inside a Coney Island deli on Feb. 7, winging an innocent young woman with two children — a resident with a direct connection to the Coney Island Coalition Against Violence.
Police said the victim — Amanda Santiago, the daughter of Elizabeth Flores, an employee of Urban Neighborhood Services and a founding member of the coalition — was not the gunman’s target as he stormed into the Sea Gate Deli at the corner of W. 36th Street and Neptune Avenue at 3:15 pm and started blasting away.
“[The gunman] had a grievance with another guy and saw the kid go into the store,” a police source told this paper. “He goes in, opens fire and runs.”
Santiago apparently entered the deli with her 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old nephew in tow just before the gunman did.
“[Santiago] was the only one hit and she was hit by accident,” the police source said.
The young mother was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center with two non-fatal bullet wounds to one arm. By late Monday cops were still searching for the gunman.
Coalition members were hit hard by the news.
“This is a traumatic experience for everyone involved or exposed to this story, especially the children,” Mathylde Frontus, executive director of Urban Neighborhood Services and Coalition leader, told members in an e-mail.
For the past year, the Coney Island Coalition Against Violence has been decrying the uptick in gun violence along Coney Island’s western end. Two weeks ago, the group unveiled a poster campaign it hopes will steer area youngsters away from gangs and guns.
Flores’s grandchildren — the ones who witnessed Monday’s shooting — were in attendance, coalition members remembered.