MOTT HAVEN, The Bronx (WABC) — Police have identified a person of interest in the Bronx double shooting that claimed the life of a 71-year-old on Thursday.
Enriqueta Rivera, 71, was waiting to cross the street with her back turned when gunfire erupted after 12:30 p.m. at the corner of E. 139th Street and Brook Avenue. A bullet struck her in the back, below her right shoulder, and then pierced her heart.
She died at the hospital.
Another bullet hit a nearby vendor, Albertina Reyes, 34, in the left arm as she was standing with a friend. She was taken to the same hospital and expected to survive her injuries.
“Two males got into a dispute. One of the males pulled out a firearm and fired multiple shots at the other,” Asst. Chief Benjamin Gurley of the NYPD Patrol Bureau Bronx said of the incident. “Those bullets struck two innocent people standing out on the street.”
An additional 40 officers were posted in the Mott Haven neighborhood in response to the shooting along with others in the area that appears to have gang connections.
Increased “mobile field forces,” an NYPD Critical Response Command team, and additional officers were assigned to the subways to be ready if crime spills into the transit system.
The recent gang violence appears to involve rival residents of the Mitchell and the Mott Haven Houses, with most of the suspects being suspected gang members in their teens and 20s. The motive appears to be nothing more than long standing differences passed down through generations.
On Wednesday, a 38-year-old woman was grazed in the arm while standing outside the Mott Haven Houses located at 383 E. 143rd Street just after 7 p.m.
“Historical beef for the most part. Territory, various things. Just groups not getting along,” Gurley said.
Separately on Thursday, three men were struck by gunfire at E. 174th Street and Jerome Avenue in the Mt. Hope section around 7:40 p.m.
A 29-year-old man was shot once in the ankle, and a 67-year-old man was shot once in the arm. They were both taken to St. Barnabas where they are expected to survive. Police sources say both of those victims were innocent bystanders.
A third victim, a 24-year-old man, walked into St. Barnabas with numerous gunshot wounds throughout the body. He’s expected to survive. It’s unclear if he was the intended target of the shooting.
Police are flooding the neighborhood with resources, hoping to cool off the violence but the neighborhood is getting fed up.
“This is our community, we own this community, we cannot allow this to continue to happen,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said.
In a shooting not believed directly connected to gunfire Wednesday and Thursday, an eight-year-old boy was struck in the right thigh Tuesday afternoon after exiting a school bus in the neighborhood.
For that shooting, 27-year-old Joshua Brooks was quickly arrested, and police have recovered images of a second suspect from surveillance and are actively searching for him.
Shootings in the 40th Precinct are actually down dramatically compared to a year ago, but residents say the recent spate of violence undercuts any sense of safety.
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