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EXCLUSIVE: Jailhouse interview with Times Square shooting suspect

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 2:18 PM EDT
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STARKE, Fla. (WABC/WCJB) - Farrakhan Muhammad was taken into custody by U.S. Marshalls at the McDonald’s off S. Temple Avenue in Starke around 12:30 p.m.on Tuesday after fleeing New York City. TV20 spoke exclusively with Muhammed at the Bradford County Jail.

“I don’t know. I still don’t know nothing,” explained Muhammed.

Officials do know something and they believe Muhammad is responsible for a shooting from over the weekend in Times Square that injured a 4-year old girl and two other women. He said he wasn’t in the city at the time.

“I left New York a few days ago. I was in [New] Jersey, I went to [New] Jersey, took our two dogs with us. I packed our stuff up,” said Muhammad.

He told us he was evicted from his residence in New York and came here to live with his girlfriend’s family. Our affiliate, WABC reports he appeared to have been staying in Florida with a girlfriend.

Kristine Vergara was arrested with him and according to a spokesperson for the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office, that woman is his girlfriend. She lives in Jacksonville.

“We came out here. Her family says we could stay over here for a few days. So we stayed,” explained the shooting suspect.

Muhammad said the couple was near the McDonald’s where he was picked up by U.S. Marshalls because him and his girlfriend were looking at purchasing an apartment in the area.

“We went over, the reason we were by the McDonald’s was we went to go check out an apartment. There was a home over there we were trying to buy. There was a confederate flag up there. He said no women could stay there, that is why we didn’t get it,” said Muhammad. “We parked by McDonald’s so we could eat McDonald’s real quick and that’s what happened.”

Colonel Brad Smith with the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said they are thankful is Muhammad off the streets and no one was injured during the arrest.

“This guy what occurred up in New York is a very serious case. The other concern is that the citizens here in Bradford County are in danger if he is lurking about here,”

His girlfriend is facing charges of second-degree accessory after the fact, while he is facing charges of second-degree attempted murder.

Muhammad allegedly fired his weapon in Times Square this past Saturday while taking aim at his own brother. He had been known to frequent Times Square, passing off bootleg CDs. He has been arrested several times over the last few years. He was charged Oct. 17, 2018 with previously harassing a 25-year-old woman on the phone and sending her threatening text messages.

On March 17, 2018, he was arrested for aggravated harassment in Midtown and on March 14, 2020, he was arrested for assault in Midtown. Between 2007 and 2015 he was arrested seven other times on various charges including robbery, grand larceny and fraud.

The mayor said he did not believe that shooting is indicative of larger problems. The city has a lot riding on tourism. Visitors spent $67 billion in 2019.There are additional police in the city’s 20 largest subway stations in addition to those additional officers in and around Times Square.

But despite the NYPD’s deployment of more highly-trained critical response command officers, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says he is not convinced more cops would have stopped Saturday’s shooting.” Clearly deployment is a piece of this equation,” he said. “But again, I spoke to one of the officers. He was literally feet away, a block away. He put it over (on the radio), responded immediately. You see how many cops were in that area.”

Regarding the shooting victims, de Blasio announced Monday that all three are out of the hospital and “it looks like they will make a stronger recovery.”

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