Convicted Murderer Arrested and Charged in Shooting Near the Battery

Jason Wright, in photo provided by the NYPD, was charged in the shooting on Monday that wounded two people.

Apr. 27, 2017

Police say a convicted murderer was arrested Wednesday night in the shooting near Battery Park that wounded a 32-year-old female bystander and a man, 40, who they say was his intended victim. Jason Wright, 37, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, was charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting that occurred Monday around 3:20 p.m. Neither of the injuries were life threatening.

Wright has a record of 20 arrests and served 10 years for a 1997 homicide, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. The area of the shooting is a magnet for sellers of illegal tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Boyce said it is believed that an argument had ensued over ticket sales.

Before the shooting cops had responded to an argument between ticket sellers, who dispersed when the saw the police, said Dep. Inspector Mark Iocco, the 1st Precinct’s commanding officer. “Shortly thereafter the dispute happens again where we think the gun was in [Wright’s] pocket or under his shirt. [He] fires two shots hitting the intended target and hitting a bystander.”

“There was a few people in the argument, they went around the corner to handle the dispute because they can’t argue here and the next thing you know, shots rang out,” a witness told ABC7. “A group of them that were in the argument ran back this way and the gunman continued up the block.”

Last year, the NYPD began cracking down on illegal vendors after a seller of fake tickets in Battery Park punched a tourist in the face, fracturing his skull.

A lot of these guys have very violent criminal histories in their past, Iocco said. “Some are associated with gangs.” He said he posts six cops around Battery Park during the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift, when the sellers are most active. "Basically, their job is to defnd Battery Park because these people are selling tickets on Parks Department property, which is illegal,” he said.

Police say they have made 37 arrests of ticket sellers this year.

In a statement on Tuesday, Councilwoman Margaret Chin noted that the shooting occurred around dismissal time for nearby P.S./I.S. 276 and said that the city needs to do more to weed out intimidating and harassing ticket sellers.

“I am calling on the Administration, and specifically the Department of Consumer Affairs,” she said, “to act to rein in ticket selling at the Battery, which has so clearly spiraled out of control.”

To call attention to the problem, Chin has scheduled a rally for 2 p.m. on Sunday at 17 Battery Pl.