BROOKLYN — After a gunman shot and killed a 16-month-old boy in Brownsville Sunday — the second weekend shooting in which a toddler was hit — Mayor Michael Bloomberg railed against illegal guns and weak gun laws.
"Every child in this city is precious, and every child deserves our protection. And when a child dies, we all suffer and we all grieve," Bloomberg said at a press conference before the West Indian Day Parade.
Antiq Hennis was in his stroller, pushed along by his mother and father, when a gunman fired four shots at the family Sunday evening, hitting the baby in the head, cops said.
"The one thing we can’t do is we can’t bring back this child," Bloomberg said. "But we as a society have a responsibility to make sure, if we possibly can, no other parent has to go through what the parents of this young child are going through today."
Antiq's killer, whom cops believe was aiming for the boy's father, was still at large Monday morning and a $12,000 reward was issued for information leading to his arrest.
The murder weapon had not been recovered as of Monday afternoon.
Between 5:45 p.m. Friday and 4:10 a.m. Monday, guns were used in at least six crimes, according to the NYPD. Two people were killed — Antiq and a 22-year-old man in Queens — and six injured.
In the latest incident, a 28-year-old man was shot in his left shoulder in Inwood about 4:10 a.m., police said. He was treated at Harlem Hospital.
"The constant flow of illegal guns into our city and into the hands of criminals happens for one reason and one reason alone: it’s caused by broken federal gun laws that Washington refuses to fix and broken gun laws in many states, which allow weapons to easily pass into the hands of criminals," the mayor said.
"It is nothing short of insanity," he added.
Along with his call for stronger regulations, Bloomberg also said Antiq's death and similar shootings justified aggressive police tactics like stop-and-frisk.
"Unfortunately, during the last month, we’ve seen two actions that will make it more difficult for our police officers to continue to reduce the number of tragedies like the one we saw last night," Bloomberg said.
A federal judge ruled in mid-August that the NYPD needed to reform its use of stop-and-frisk, saying officers violated New Yorkers' rights.
The City Council also recently rebuffed the mayor by voting to install an inspector general of the NYPD and allow citizens to sue police for bias.
"For 20 years in this city, crime has come down. God help us if we stop doing what we have been doing," he added.