The young mother shot by a stray bullet in the Times Square shooting spree Mother’s Day weekend has revealed how she told her husband to save himself and their daughter as she collapsed to the ground.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com just days after the random act of violence that left three wounded and shocked the city, Wendy Magrinat said that her only thought was for the safety of her child and her only regret was dying with so much to live for.
Reliving the moment, the 23-year-old mother-of-one said that seconds before shots were fired, she had asked her husband, Yoel, 29, to move their daughter Elise, 2, away from two men who had started arguing nearby.
One of those men was the shooter, Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, who was arrested Wednesday morning having gone on the run with his girlfriend. Police caught up with the career criminal when he ran out of gas in Florida.
Wendy Magrinat, 23, was shot in the leg by a stray bullet Saturday in Times Square. In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com Magrinat said she had a feeling ‘something bad was going to happen’ moments before shots rang out
Wendy is pictured with her husband, two-year-old daughter, mother and seven -year-old sister on Saturday just moments before being shot in the leg
Wendy provided a photo of the bullet wound to DailyMail.com as she recovers from the shooting
Magrinat’s husband and child had just moved, she said, when shots were fired. She said, ‘The first one went to me.’
Looking back, Magrinat said, ‘I saw the guy’s face. I saw that it was a heated conversation, but I was so confident – it was Times Square, there were so many cops around.
‘I just stayed there [but] I knew something bad was going to happen, I felt it. Something told me to push my husband and daughter forward and that’s what I did.
‘And I thank God she didn’t get shot and it was me.’
Police arrested Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, in Florida, on Wednesday morning
Magrinat had traveled to New York City from her home in Rhode Island that morning. It was a family trip, a Mother’s Day treat for her own mother who had never been to the city and she was there with her mother, stepfather, seven-year-old sister, husband, and child.
Times Square hadn’t been part of the plan, but bad traffic meant that the family had missed the cruise she had booked to see the Statue of Liberty.
It had been a wonderful day. They had gone to Times Square instead. They had visited Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Madame Tussauds and her little sister very much wanted to visit the ‘Line Friends’ store – a gift store for the popular Korean characters.
She explained, ‘My little sister wanted to go the Line store and I wasn’t going to say, ”No” to her. There was such a huge line inside of the store because of Covid-19 restrictions but she had made such a fuss about it that she wanted to stay so we just stayed in line.’
And while standing in line Magrinat witnessed the argument break out between Muhammad and his brother who has since said that he was the intended target of the gunfire.
Instead, Muhammad fired wildly into the crowded square hitting 43-year-old Marcela Aldana in the left leg, 4-year-old Skye Martinez in the left foot and Magrinat in her right thigh.
Magrinat said, ‘Shots were fired. I felt the first shot. I knew that when you’re shot a lot of blood is going to come out obviously. So, I put my hand on it and I just told my husband, ”Run.’ Because I didn’t know at that moment how to tell my family, ”I’m shot.”
‘I was in shock but when I tried running, I took three steps and I fell to the floor. My leg wasn’t responding back to me. I started getting dizzy.’
Unaware that Magrinat had been hit her husband thought she had simply stumbled in the panic that followed the gunfire.
She said, ‘I told him, ”No babe. I’m shot. You need to call 911.” And he started crying, my mom was screaming, but shots kept firing.
‘So, I told my mom, ”Grab up my daughter and run, just go!” and I told my husband, ”Go!”
Instead Yoel told her, ‘Baby I’m not leaving you behind. I’m staying with you.’
Wendy is seen in photos taken Saturday in New York City with her husband Yoel and daughter Elise, 2. She saw two men arguing and asked her husband to move their daughter Elise away from them
Wendy and her family had visited Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Madame Tussauds that day. Her little sister very much wanted to visit the ‘Line Friends’ store – a gift store for the popular Korean characters
While standing in line Magrinat witnessed the argument break out between Muhammad and his brother who has since said that he was the intended target of the gunfire. Wendy is seen having fun at Madame Tussauds
Wendy is seen posing at Madame Tussauds just before the shooting. In Magrinat’s recollections everything happened very fast after that. She said, ‘I just felt really desperate. I felt like I was going to die because I didn’t know…what damage had been caused. But I told a police officer, ”I’ve been shot” and he came running to me’
Magrinat managed to drag herself into ‘a little hole’ next to a window, out of the chaos.
She said, ‘I left it in God’s hand. But you know you’re not in control in that moment. I saw my hand full of blood and I started screaming, ”Help me! I have a two-year-old. I don’t want to die.”
‘That’s the only thing going through my mind at that time.’
But instead of helping her, she said, people were taking out their cell phones and videoing her distress.
She said, ‘As I was sitting on the floor asking for help, my husband’s screaming and people [are]recording me and not helping…What world are we living in? What is going on? Isn’t this pandemic enough? We should be helping each other, lifting each other up.
‘To me it was crazy that people were standing there instead of running.’
In Magrinat’s recollections everything happened very fast after that. She said, ‘I just felt really desperate. I felt like I was going to die because I didn’t know…what damage had been caused. But I told a police officer, ”I’ve been shot” and he came running to me.
‘He grabbed me, and three others came.’
One of them was NYPD officer Alyssa Vogel, the police officer who has garnered praise for swooping in and carrying 4-year-old Skye Martinez to safety.
Magrinat said, ‘I told her, ”I don’t want to die. I have a two-year-old.” And she was like, ”You’re not going to die. Just listen to me. You’re going to be okay. It’s not bleeding too much. I’m going to take you to hospital.”’
According to Magrinat, ‘She was an angel. Between her and my husband I felt like, I’m okay. At that moment they were the ones that gave me the strength that I needed.’
Police officer Alyssa Vogel has been praised for her heroic actions during the shooting after she was seen saving a four-year-old girl who was shot in the leg
New York City police officers stand guard after Saturday’s shooting in Times Square
Magrinat was taken to Bellevue hospital along with the four-year-old victim who was traveling with her mother.
She said, ‘She was very good. She wasn’t crying at all. She was amazing. She was braver than me.’
Magrinat didn’t feel pain at first, she said. ‘It’s not instant. Like I ran a little. I didn’t feel pain. You only feel heat. So, it only burns and tingles a little. What happens is after like an hour or two there’s a lot of pain, the process, the recovery that’s painful.’
Medics stripped away Magrinat’s clothing to establish that she hadn’t suffered any other injuries, cleaned, and covered her wound and gave her painkillers.
They told her that she was lucky, the bullet had gone into the muscle but missed her bones and major arteries.
She said, ‘They said, ‘We don’t fish for a bullet. The bullet’s not going to come out, the muscle’s going to grow around it and it’s not going to move.’
But she was told, ‘Every time you go to an airport or a mall, they’re going to think you’re trying to sneak something in or steal something.’
Magrinat was released from hospital just five hours after her admission and was allowed to go home where she is now recovering.
Her positivity is remarkable. She says she harbors no bitterness or sense of injustice that this happened to her. Instead, she is grateful that her child wasn’t hurt and that she is alive to see her grow.
She said, ‘You can’t control events that happen in your life, but you can control how you react to them. That person hurt me, he already hurt me physically. Am I going to let that person hurt me mentally? That’s just letting him win.
‘You cannot let people burn out the magic that’s in you. That’s just not who I am, and I don’t want to show that to my daughter.’
She continued, ‘My little sister needs counselling. It’s been hard on her. She’s a little girl so I try to be positive. Of course, I cry myself to sleep sometimes at night. Of course, there’s a trauma and I’m going to need help but I’m thankful to be alive.
‘It could have been worse. I’m blessed to see my daughter again, that’s all I wanted at that moment was to be with her and to hug her, to be able to kiss her and just have her next to me.
‘She’s little. She’d going to forget. She doesn’t see much – I don’t let her know that I’m in pain. I just want her to forget and not be scared.’
Wendy said, ‘You can’t control events that happen in your life, but you can control how you react to them. That person hurt me, he already hurt me physically. Am I going to let that person hurt me mentally? That’s just letting him win’
‘And I thank God she didn’t get shot and it was me,’ Wendy says of her two-year-old daughter
As for Muhammad, Magrinat says she wishes him ‘no ill.’ In fact, she says, ‘I forgive him.’
But she said that she was glad to hear of his arrest and to know that there will be consequences for what she refers to as ‘his decisions’ that day.
She says she is not cowed by her trauma and has every intention of returning to New York, a city that she loves.
She said, ‘I have so many things to do in New York. I need to see the Bronx Zoo; I need to go on my cruise that I missed…the botanical gardens that they just opened up. This is not going to stop me from going to New York.’
In fact, Magrinat says, her experience has renewed her sense of joy in life. She said, ‘I just want people to know do not let the people that hurt you win. Don’t do that. You’re hurt? Get up. There are so many things to do in life.
‘You can be depressed, cry, clean up and get up. Everything’s going to be all right.
‘This is just one life. That’s all you got; one life. Just enjoy it the best you can. In that moment I thought I was going to die, and I truly had so many things to live for.
‘I have a two-year-old that I wanted to see do everything in life. And I want to go to so many places – Italy, Paris. I have so many things to do. How am I going to die, just in Times Square? Oh no, no, no. That wasn’t for me.’