By Jeff Mays and Jim Scott
MANHATTAN — A man was shot during broad daylight outside a Harlem recreation center on Monday and the gunman was still on the loose, police said.
The shooting happened at about 11:30 a.m. in a cul de sac outside the J. Rozier Hansborough Recreation Center at 35 West 134th St. near Fifth Avenue, police said.
The unidentified man was shot in the leg and taken to Harlem Hospital, which is on the same street, for treatment, the FDNY said.
The man was walking outside of the recreation center when another man attempted to steal his gold chain, witnesses said.
"I just heard a shot," said a man who works in the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center across from Hansborough and asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press. "The guy kept his chain but got shot in the leg."
A man who identified himself as the victim's uncle said the victim frequented the center to play basketball. He said a man demanded his nephew's gold chain and medallion. When he refused, he was shot in the leg.
"He's the most likeable guy in the world. He'd give you the shirt off his back," said the man. "Someone just tried to rob him."
The center is located across from the Lenox Terrace Apartment complex where U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel and former Gov. David Paterson live.
Users of the recreation center said they were surprised the shooting occurred in broad daylight.
"People are getting desperate," said Michelle Brown, 51, a retired Verizon employee who was in a pool aerobics class when the shooting happened. "I've been coming here for 10 years so this is not going to deter me but it will make me watch out a little more."
"I'm quite surprised," said Clarita Jones, who was also in the swim class at the time of the shooting. "I've been coming here for two years and nothing like this has ever happened before."
No arrests have been made and police are investigating the incident.