Woman shot dead outside Union Square NYU dorm

An early morning shooting on Thursday left a young woman dead near Union Square. Neither a motive nor perpetrator have been identified.


Police officers and a crime scene unit block off a street corner in front of the Chipotle restaurant on East 14th Street and Irving Place, across from the University Hall dormitory, on Thursday morning. (Photo by Ryan Mai)

Abby Wilson, News Editor

At approximately 5 a.m. on Thursday, a 25-year-old woman was shot dead on the corner of 14th Street and Irving Place — directly across the street from NYU’s University Hall dormitory. The woman was found unresponsive with a bullet wound to the head by police officers from the New York City Police Department’s 13th Precinct. Authorities suspect that she had been walking home after finishing a shift at the nearby IHOP, according to ABC 7.

EMTs pronounced the woman dead at the scene. The covered body of the victim was left on the street until around 9 a.m., when it was removed from the area. Detectives were still present hours later. The unidentified perpetrator fled the scene on foot, and the NYPD has said that it has not yet identified a motive. The incident is currently under investigation.

The perpetrator was described by police as a heavyset Black man who was wearing black clothing and a mask. Authorities reported that they are also looking for a woman involved in the incident, but no further details have been released. 

Fountain Walker, NYU’s campus safety chief, and Kate Baier, the residential life director, sent an email alert to residents of UHall, Palladium residence hall, Coral Tower, Carlyle Court and Gramercy Green — all of which are located near Union Square — at around 4 p.m., 11 hours after the incident. The email urged students to contact the campus safety department with any information.

“The victim does not appear to be affiliated with NYU, nor is there any other indication of any connection to the University community,” the email reads. “The NYPD is actively investigating and seeking the assailant. You will likely notice a substantial police presence around 14th Street and Irving Place.”

Walker said that Campus Safety will also have an increased presence in the area. Students were urged to use the mental health resources available on campus, including the Wellness Exchange, or reach out to their residential hall’s leadership team if they need support.

LS first-year Maximilian Stebelsky was woken up by loud noises outside of his room in UHall, and saw police cars flood onto 14th Street at around 5 a.m. He said that the incident was jarring, especially since it took place on the morning of his first ever class at NYU.

“It’s scary because obviously the unexpected can happen, but right in front of my dorm building?” he said. “I never thought that I’d have to experience something like that, especially when it’s the first or second week of me moving in.”

Gallatin first-year Eliza Sutton, who also lives in UHall, first heard about the shooting from her roommate early in the morning. Although she said it was frightening to live near where the incident occurred, she said she was unsurprised to see police activity while leaving for her class in the morning.

“It was disconcerting, but not shocking,” Sutton said. “I’ll be more cautious about going outside late at night and early in the morning.”

At a press conference in Queens held to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Ida on Thursday afternoon, New York City Mayor Eric Adams responded to a question about the incident, saying that the attack appeared premeditated.

“The investigation is still new,” Adams said. “We don’t have much more than that at this time. But again, it really highlights what the governor and I talked about yesterday, and what we’ll continue to talk about. The overproliferation of guns on our streets, and people using them for violent means.”

Just over a mile away in Alphabet City, Dillin Tolentino, 26, was killed by gunshots to the face and head at around 1:30 p.m. during a gang-related dispute. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital after he was found near the intersection of 12th Street and Szold Place. The perpetrator, who was reportedly a Black man in his 30s, fled the scene. According to police, the two incidents do not appear to be related.

Adrianna Nehme contributed reporting. Contact Abby Wilson at [email protected].