New York City Police Chief of Detectives James Essig speaks during a news conference Wednesday.
CNN  — 

A 15-year-old student was shot and killed in a New York City park after leaving school Wednesday, police said.

The shooting happened in McLaughlin Park in Brooklyn about 15 minutes after the teen was dismissed from his school at 1:30 p.m., NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said during a Wednesday news conference.

The student was sitting on a bench with two school-aged girls when two boys wearing ski masks approached the group, Essig said, citing witness accounts.

A verbal dispute ensued between the student and the two boys, which led to a fist fight that culminated with one of the suspects pulling out a gun and shooting the student in the stomach one time, Essig said.

At least 30 people were at the park when the confrontation happened, he added.

The suspects fled the park after the shooting. The student was taken to a hospital, where he later died, police said.

Authorities are investigating whether the attackers knew the student.

“It’s always a concern to return to school. We see the shooting victims, the shooting perpetrators younger and younger and it’s a great concern to us,” Essig said.

In recent months, New York City saw a drop in shooting incidents and a slight increase in gun-related arrests from May 1 to September 5, according to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

Homicides were also down this summer, from 184 last year to 161 this year, according to data from the New York City Police Department.

Still, overall crime during the summer months this year increased to 46,597 incidents, up from 35,995 during the same time last year, data shows.

CNN’s Mark Morales contributed to this report.