Federal prosecutor struck by stray bullet outside Brooklyn restaurant
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A federal prosecutor was one of two innocent bystanders struck by stray bullets outside a bustling Brooklyn restaurant, sending terrified diners diving for cover amid an intensifying shooting surge across the Big Apple.
Mollie Bracewell, 34, a Harvard Law School grad who works in the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan, was dining outside Muse in Prospect Heights at around 9 p.m. Friday as the Thai hotspot turned into a warzone when two rival gangs squabbling nearby opened fire, sources told The Post.
Bracewell heard four shots and felt pain in her left eye and was taken to Kings County Hospital where an X-Ray found there was a bullet fragment lodged under her eye, police sources said.
Benjamin Bustamante, a 31-year-old man who was strolling by the Washington Avenue restaurant was shot in the foot and taken to Methodist Hospital, said police. He was also an unintended victim, according to police.
A 17-year-old was arrested in connection with the shootings. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and police said they were investigating whether he fired the shots.
Bracewell confirmed through the intercom of her nearby apartment Saturday that she was one of the restaurant victims.
“I’m sorry, but if you want to talk to anyone you should reach out to our press office,” she told The Post. “I’m not going to answer any other questions.”
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s office declined to comment and said Bracewell would have no comment.
Bracewell has worked in the general crimes and narcotics units of the office and prosecuted sex trafficking and the case against Sarah Lawrence College “sex cult” leader Lawrence Ray.
Bustamante appeared to be recovering in good spirits Saturday after being struck in the foot by gunfire, writing on Instagram “got me new sneakers!!! no bullet holes in this one,” accompanied by a picture of his right foot in a cast in what appears to be a hospital bed with a crutch pictured in the background.
Muse manager Onvadee Bunsri described the mayhem at the packed eatery which had a line out the door as locals kicked off the weekend.
“They shot the glass door and the glass door was broken,” she said. “The customers were down on the floor. Everyone was down on the floor.”
She observed Bracewell appeared “really hurt.”
“This is really scary. She was just eating,” the manager said.
Neighbors said they are terrified by the surge of shootings.
“This is Brooklyn in the 1970s and 1980s,” one resident said. “I didn’t feel like I would live through this twice.”
The number of shootings has skyrocketed 82 percent this year to 490 through May 16 compared to 270 during the same period last year, NYPD stats show.
“Unfortunately, it won’t take a federal prosecutor getting shot dining al fresco for the mayor, City Council, Corey Johnson, and their gaggle of defund the police activists to admit they’ve gone too far,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice “Shootings and murders have ravaged minority neighborhoods the past year and their silence has been deafening.”
Additional reporting by Melissa Klein
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