The New York City man accused of shooting three innocent bystanders – including a 4-year-old girl – during a dispute in Times Square over the weekend spoke publicly from the jail where he is being held as he awaits jurisdiction, telling a local news station he wasn’t in the Big Apple during the shooting and knows “nothing.”
“I don’t know. I still don’t know nothing,” Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, told WCJB-TV from Bradford County Jail on Wednesday. Muhammad was arrested a day earlier in connection with allegations that he opened fire in Times Square on Saturday, striking three people — including a child who was shopping for toys at the time, police said. He was in court for a brief appearance on Thursday.
The other victims in Saturday’s shooting are both adult women, one of whom was a tourist. All three victims survived the attack.
Police officials and sources have said that two to four men began arguing around 5 p.m. Saturday when one person, later identified as Muhammad, pulled out a gun and began shooting.
The suspect was allegedly seen on video raising his right arm and appearing to fire shots from a semi-automatic pistol. Police later recovered three shell casings in the area, sources said.
A witness told police he heard the shooter say “come get it” before firing three to five shots and running off, sources told Fox News. Sources identified Muhammad as “a CD hustler.”
New York Police Department Chief of Detectives James Essig said during a news conference Wednesday that Muhammad’s brother confirmed to investigators that he was the intended target.
He said he believed Muhammad and his brother “are CD vendor sellers in the area,” but added: “That does not excuse anything.”
Police are still investigating the motive.
AFTER THE SHOOTING – NEW YORK CITY
NYPD Chief Hank Sautner said Wednesday that after the shooting, investigators conducted “an exhaustive search” of a number video sources, tracking Muhammad from the shooting location to where he is believed to reside with his girlfriend on West 42nd Street. Bradford County Jail records identify his address as being 500 West 42nd Street.
TIMES SQUARE SHOOTING SUSPECT ARRESTED AT FLORIDA MCDONALD’S
“Based on that video, we saw him exiting the location, discarding some evidence which was since recovered and then making his way out of there, heading into parts unknown at that point,” Sautner said.
Essig said that investigators followed leads obtained from Crime Stoppers tips and “other investigative measures” to determine that Muhammad “was traveling out of state and heading south.”
Muhammad told WCJB he left New York “a few days ago,” and was in New Jersey at the time of the shooting.
“We was homeless. We took our two dogs with us,” he told the station. “I was in Jersey in a hotel. Packed our stuff up.”
Muhammad said he and his girlfriend traveled to the Jacksonville area to stay with his girlfriend’s family, according to the report.
FAYETEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Prior to his arrest Wednesday, video surveillance showed Muhammad and his girlfriend in Fayetteville, North Carolina, buying dog food and other items at a local Walmart, officials said Wednesday.
He then continued south, into the Sunshine State, police said.
SUSPECTED TIMES SQUARE SHOOTER IS CAREER CRIMINAL WITH A LENGTHY RAP SHEET
Muhammad told the station he was around the Starke, Florida, McDonald’s, where he was arrested because he and his girlfriend were looking at apartments nearby.
He said they had no success at the apartment prospect because “it was a Confederate flag up there. He said no women could stay there,” the station reported.
NYPD officials told reporters on Wednesday that investigators linked him to several addresses in Florida.
Police said Muhammad was nabbed that day while eating in a McDonald’s parking lot with his girlfriend, who was identified in reports as being Kristine Vergara.
Muhammad had changed his appearance, particularly the way he styled his hair, after the shooting, police said. He was cooperative with investigators.
Charges against him have not been released and it was not yet clear when he would be extradited to New York to face a judge.
Investigators are interviewing Muhammad’s girlfriend as a possible person of interest. Any NYPD spokesperson said there were no new developments regarding the charges against the woman as of Thursday.
At a brief hearing Thursday in Starke, Florida, a judge gave Farrakhan Muhammad several days to consult with a lawyer on whether he will waive a full extradition hearing and agree to return to New York.
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He’s expected back in court Sunday, according to the Bradford County Court clerk.
Vergara was charged with being an accessory after the fact and was jailed Thursday on $500,000 bail, according to court records.
Muhammad and Vergara were ordered to have no contact with each other. She is being appointed a public defender but that lawyer’s name was not immediately available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.