A quiet afternoon in Fort Greene was ripped asunder by a running gunfight that left one man dead and four others wounded.
Residents were scrambling for cover on Fulton Street between South Oxford Street and South Portland Avenue as a pair of gunmen chased 20-year-old Lethania Garcia of Lefferts Place down the block and into the DeLux Gallery, a popular neighborhood hair salon.
Police said that the gunmen entered the salon and riddled the place with bullets, striking Garcia in the head as he tried to hide in the back.
Four innocent bystanders — including an off-duty cop from the 76th Precinct in Carroll Gardens — inside were also hit, but their injuries were not considered life threatening.
When the smoke cleared, the gunmen were gone, escaping the neighborhood in a blue Chevy Tahoe.
Garcia died at the scene, officials said.
The female cop, 41, was shot in the foot and was taken to Bellevue Hospital where she was listed in stable condition.
Other injured parties included a 29-year-old woman who was shot in both legs and two 52-year-old men, who were shot in the legs as well.
Neighbors identified one of the two men as the owner of the salon, according to published reports.
Sources identified the wounded cop as Police Officer Andrea Cox, a seven year veteran of the NYPD, who had spent most of her career with the 76th Precinct.
Cox, a patrolwoman on the day shift, was released from the hospital later that day and is resting comfortably at home, officials said.
“We’re very happy that she’s OK,” said Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper, the commanding officer of the 76th Precinct.
Witnesses at the bloody scene recalled hearing anywhere between 10 and 30 shots.
Garcia, they recalled, was waiting for someone outside of Cake Man Raven’s shop – which is just a few doors up from the hair salon – before the shooting started.
By Wednesday, the shades were drawn on the DeLux Gallery with the exception of an Obama ’08 poster sitting in the window.
Police believe that the slaying was an isolated incident.
In fact, despite Monday’s stunning flash of violence – the number of homicides in the 88th Precinct have dropped by 62 percent over the past year.
Officials said that this is the fourth killing to be investigated this year, as opposed to the eight that were investigated last year.
The murder, however, was the second to be investigated this month, the first being the stabbing death of an unidentified man who was found stuffed in a cardboard box.
The number of assaults are also down in the 88th Precinct, by nearly 27 percent, according to officials.
Although startled by the bloodshed, area civic leaders do not think that Fort Greene’s bad old days have returned.
“I believe that Monday’s incident was isolated,” said City Councilwoman Letitia James. “It appears to have been an execution, for a lack of a better term.”
Just two weeks earlier, James held a Public Safety Forum with the Kings County District Attorney’s office. She said that Monday’s violence did underscore some of the points raised at the forum, including the need for more foot patrols in the area, as well as more police in the 88th Precinct.
James also hopes that Monday’s incident inspires Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to use the funds that she earmarked last year for cameras in Fort Greene Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
As of this writing, police were still looking for the gunmen responsible for the shooting.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to come forward.
Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.