FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A battle between two rival ticket sellers turned violent Monday afternoon when one of the vendors opened fire, striking his foe in the chest and wounding an innocent bystander near Battery Park, police said.
The 34-year-old woman had just left work when the two ticket sellers started fighting outside 2 Washington St., near Battery Place, not far from the Staten Island Ferry, at 3:15 p.m., an NYPD spokeswoman said Tuesday morning.
One of the feuding men pulled a gun and opened fire, grazing the chest of his 40-year-old rival and striking the woman in the left knee, the spokeswoman said.
The male victim hopped in a friend's car and took off, but didn't make it past the Brooklyn Bridge before police stopped them for driving erratically, police said. He was taken to the hospital, police said.
The female victim — whose name was not released — was taken to Bellevue Hospital, officials said.
"She’s now undergoing some treatment. She’s not likely to die, but she had some surgery this morning," the NYPD's Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Tuesday.
The driver of the victim's car, a 23-year-old man, was also taken into custody for driving without a license, police said. He hadn't been formally charged as of Tuesday morning.
It wasn't immediately clear what sparked the shooting. Investigators said that the two sellers had been feuding about an hour before the shooting, Boyce said.
"We believe it involved ticket selling. Right now, we are trying to determine who the individuals are," Boyce added.
The shooter hadn't been arrested as of Tuesday morning, police said.
Investigators released photos Tuesday of two men they want to question in connection with the shooting. They were not described as suspects.
Persons of interest in Monday's shooting. (NYPD)
It was not immediately clear which companies the suspect and his rival were selling for. NYPD officials have long complained about aggressive and violent ticket vendors in Lower Manhattan.
In one instance last February, a seller leveled a man with a punch and fractured his skull because he refused to buy a ticket.
"The situation with the illegal ticket sellers has absolutely gotten out of hand," said Rafael Abreu, a spokesman for the Statue Cruises, the only company authorized to run ferry trips to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
"It's horrendous," he added.
Vivian Lee, 60, who works nearby at the New York Film Academy, says she didn't see or hear any gunshots but saw the commotion of police officers rushing to the scene.
"I was scared," she said. "Nowadays, nowhere’s a safe place."
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).