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Society

Times Square Shooting Suspect Says He Wasn’t Even There

STARKE, Fla. — The man suspected of shooting and wounding three people in New York's Times Square, including a 4-year-old girl, said in a television interview that he did not know anything about it and had been in New Jersey at the time.

Farrakhan Muhammad spoke to WCJB-TV  at a county jail in Florida, where he was in custody after being arrested Wednesday.

"I left New York a few days ago … I was in (New) Jersey in a hotel," Muhammad said. He said he went to Florida to live with his girlfriend's relatives after being evicted.

Muhammad, 31, was arrested at a McDonald's in Starke, Florida. In New York, investigators say he wounded three people with stray bullets during some type of dispute involving his brother and others.

New York Police Department Chief of Detectives James Essig said that Muhammad was identified as the gunman by his brother, who told officers he was the intended target of the shooting.

At a brief hearing Thursday in Starke, a judge gave Muhammad several days to consult with a lawyer on whether he will waive a full extradition hearing and agree to return to New York.

He's expected back in court Sunday, according to the Bradford County court clerk.

Also charged is Muhammad's girlfriend, Kristine Vergara, who was with him at the McDonalds. She is 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.

Wendy Magrinat, a 23-year-old tourist visiting from Rhode Island, was shot in the leg. A 43-year-old woman from New Jersey was shot in the foot. The 4-year-old girl, from Brooklyn, was also shot in the leg.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said all three victims have been released from the hospital and are expected to fully recover.

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