The hard-charging New York Police Department is taking back the streets from the vicious thugs who are trying to destroy the Big Apple’s summer.

Last week there were more than 60 shootings in New York due to the heat wave – a 32 per cent increase over the same time last year.

But the NYPD, known as “New York’s Finest”, sent a message to the criminals by collaring a thug who shot a three-year-old boy in the leg in a New York playground gunfight.

Isaiah Rivera is the youngest of 77 people to be shot in New York in the last week. The violence has been blamed on a heat wave that swept across the city.

Just hours after the July 9 shooting, brave officers from the New York Police Department managed to nail the monster that shot tiny Isaiah as he played with his pet dog and believe the shootout began over a dice game. They also captured the shooter’s alleged partner in crime.

The cowardly pair – getaway driver Stanley Williams, 20, and shooter Antonio McCloud, 22 – were both charged with attempted murder.

Isaiah and his 7-year-old brother had been playing with their pet beagle next to their home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, when ten bullets were fired around them.

One of the bullets hit Isaiah in his leg and he was rushed to Kings County Hospital. His 27-year-old father Jose Rivera told reporters: “He’s going to be OK. He didn’t cry. He’s a strong kid.”

Doctors released the tot from hospital on Monday night and he was greeted at home by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

After playing with Isaiah, Mayor Bloomberg told reporters: “He’s doing wonderful; he’s running around the house.”

Police said they were looking for a second gunman.

Dad Jose told reporters: “I’m a little bit relieved, but a little nervous, until they find the third person. But for the moment, I’m happy that my son is home and that he’s doing well.”

Williams, the son of a corrections officer, has 11 prior arrests, and McCloud had 12 prior arrests.