Shots fired Tuesday morning from one car to another near Martin Luther King Magnet School led a father to grab his children and run them inside their apartment and a volunteer group to stay away from a nearby free lunch site for children.
No injuries were reported as a result of the shooting, but the target car is believed to have had a window shot out. A nearby apartment house was also believed to have been hit, the bullet lodging in the outside wall of a vacant flat. The father and children were unharmed after hurrying inside. The lunch site, which was not open at the time of the shooting, went on serving at its regularly scheduled time with other volunteers, an official with the program said.
The parent, who only gave his first name as Corey, was outside his apartment on Stanley Street with his children when he said he saw the shots fired. Corey said his children, ages 3 years and 9 months, were playing, while he starting to fly a remote-control helicopter.
“I grabbed my two kids and ran inside,” Corey said.
While none of the three was injured, Corey recalled both children crying. As he spoke, his 3-year-old played on the porch behind him on a three-wheeler.
The incident happened just after 11:30 a.m. on Stanley Street, next to King School, a site for the Schenectady Inner City Ministries summer lunch program. The King site, however, opens regularly at 1:15 p.m. and wasn’t open at the time of the shooting.
The lunch program went on as scheduled, program director Rachel Curtis said. Police concluded their on-site investigation as the site was preparing to open.
A volunteer group from Saratoga County that was supposed to help with the site this week decided to back out over safety concerns after hearing of the shooting, Curtis said. Other volunteers filled in Tuesday and will for the rest of the week. Service won’t be affected, she said.
The King lunch site is one of about 25 free summer lunch sites the group runs in and around Schenectady. At King, between 60 and 120 children are served each day. It served in that range Tuesday.
The volunteers who were scheduled to help at the King lunch site included middle-school students, Curtis said. She did not name the volunteer group.
Curtis said she understood their reasons for staying away. She said the program has procedures in place for emergencies, should they arise.
“The unfortunate point is that some children have the option of whether or not to go into a neighborhood and others live that reality all the time,” Curtis said.
The shooting happened as one car trailed the other then pulled next to it near the school, police said. Words were apparently exchanged and someone in the formerly trailing car opened fire, police said.
The car from which the shots were fired was described as a silver Nissan Altima with out-of-state plates, possibly from Maryland.
The target car, with a back or side window shot out, was described as a gold or champagne-colored Ford. Police were still looking for the vehicles Tuesday afternoon.
As many as six shots were fired, police said. Shell casings were left behind in the street. Cones on the school grounds marked the locations from where the shots were fired.
The house that was hit was in front of Stanley Street at the top of the T intersection with Steuben Street. It may have been hit as the lead car turned, police said.
The bullet hole was similar in caliber to the casings found, Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said. The bullet could be seen in the hole and did not penetrate the vacant apartment.
The upstairs apartment, however, was occupied.
Resident Beth Armstrong said she heard what sounded like firecrackers, but didn’t think anything more of it until she saw police outside.
“I’m just glad that somebody wasn’t living downstairs,” she said.