A father was murdered in broad daylight while crossing the road hand in hand with his young daughter, as a wave of violence threatens to engulf the largest city in the US.
The death of 28-year-old Anthony Robinson in front of his 7-year-old daughter was one of 11 fatal shootings in New York last weekend alone as the city's police chief blames council budget cuts and a "bow to mob rule" in America's most populous city.
Shocking video released by police shows Robinson and his daughter Khloe walking on a pedestrian crossing in the Bronx on Sunday as a car pulls alongside them.
As the pair nears the footpath, a hand extends from the passenger side window holding a gun and fires at the father and daughter.
As her dad drops to the floor, a terrified Khloe lets go of his hand and runs for safety.
Police said four shots were fired and Robinson was hit in the chest.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police say the investigation into the murder of Robinson remains ongoing.
NYPD Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox called the shooting " a very, very cruel crime".
"Obviously, Mr Robinson isn't the only victim of that crime. That young girl is the victim of that crime. That community is also the victim of that crime."
Relatives told the "New York Daily News" that Robinson was a "family man" and a neighbour told the paper that Khloe used to lift the slain man's spirits.
"He says when he gets depressed he gets her because he wants to hear her say 'Daddy, Daddy,'" she recalled.
New York City mayor Bill De Blasio blamed the surge in violence on the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is directly related to coronavirus," de Blasio said. "This is a very serious situation. As we're getting into warmer and warmer weather, we're feeling the effects of people being cooped up for months, the economy hasn't restarted – we have a real problem here."
The city's police commissioner, Dermot Shea, was unsurprised by the spike in violent crime and blamed it on recent cuts to police budgets and other reforms.
"This has been predictable," Shea told NY1. '"You heard me saying: 'A storm is coming,' and we're in the middle of it right now."
Last week Shea said the council had completed a "bow to mob rule" in passing the budget cuts.
New York City lawmakers approved the austere budget last week, which will shift US$1 billion ($1.52 billion) from policing to education and social services in the coming year, acknowledging protesters' demands to cut police spending — but falling short of what activists sought.
The vote by the city council came at an extraordinary moment when the nation's biggest city is grappling with a US$9 billion revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic and simultaneously with pressure to cut back on policing and invest more in community and social programmes.
Critics of the deal said the billion dollar cut wasn't a billion dollar cut at all. Some of the funding reduction, they noted, was merely shifting police functions like school safety to the Department of Education. And they doubted the promised reduction in overtime would ever happen.
"We are being gaslit," said activist Jawanza James Williams. "This movement is about so much more than the $1 billion, and this means they don't understand what we're saying."
Activists say the budget needs to make a substantial, not symbolic, difference in advancing racial justice and curbing the size and power of the nation's largest police force.
Council budget leaders said they needed to balance calls to cut policing with residents' concerns about safety.
"Many in my community have supported police and want police. They just want families and young people to be treated fairly," said councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who represents a Bronx district where over half of residents are Hispanic and about 40 per cent are Black.
Gibson said she'd recently met relatives of a Bronx 17-year-old who was shot and killed Sunday, days after his high school graduation.
"I don't want anyone to misunderstand and think that we don't care and that we have not been working our behinds off to get to a place of equity," while ensuring communities "are not left behind with crime, violence, illegal guns in our communities, no programmes, no activities, and no hope for a better tomorrow," Gibson said.
- Additional reporting, AP