A family is devastated and angry after an alleged gang member opened fire last Thursday in the Bronx at a rival and fatally shot a 71-year-old grandmother in the heart, according to the New York Police Department.
Enriqueta Rivera had a shopping cart and was just waiting to cross the street on a corner near East 138th Street and Brook Avenue when 21-year-old Joshua Evans allegedly got into a dispute with another man and fired his gun, hitting a second woman in the arm and killing Rivera just after noon on Sept. 14.
“Two innocent bystanders were shot in the confines of the 40 Precinct in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Our first unintended victim was identified as a female, 34 years old. She was shot once in her left arm; and thankfully, she was treated at Lincoln Hospital and will survive her injuries,” New York Police Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said during a press conference Monday. “A second woman was also shot; once again, she was an unintended victim of gun violence. And Enriqueta Rivera, 71‑year‑old woman, was walking on the sidewalk with her shopping cart when she was shot one time in her heart by a bullet that was meant for another, meant for a rival gang member.”
“We have two innocent women, two Bronx residents, two unintended targets, both struck by senseless gunfire,” Kenny summarized.
Kenny said that Evans was known to police due to a prior arrest in connection with a 2019 robbery.
“He resides just two blocks from where the shooting took place,” Kenny said, noting that Evans was “located and apprehended by U.S. Marshals and the Regional Fugitive Task Force at 6:30 this morning [Monday].”
It was alleged that the murder and attempted murder suspect was hiding out in Mount Vernon home that belonged to a relative.
Also on hand for the press conference were NYC Mayor Eric Adams and New York Police Commissioner Edward Caban.
Caban revealed that video footage and photos were what led to Evans’ arrest within 96 hours of the fatal shooting.
“The suspect, whose intended targets were members of a rival gang, were quickly identified by patrol officers in the 40 Precinct through video footage and still photos. And early this morning, less than 96 hours after the shooting, an arrest was made. As the criminal justice system takes its course, the message from our police department is clear: if you carry an illegal firearm, if you recklessly pulled the trigger, if you harm anyone in our city, the NYPD will find you. We will arrest you, and you will be held accountable.”
“Gang violence — or any type of violence, for that matter — will never be tolerated,” he added.
Court records show that Evans was arraigned on Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder, first-degree manslaughter, assault, and a firearms charge. The suspect is scheduled to appear in Bronx Criminal Court next at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 22.
Just one day after Enriqueta Rivera’s death, the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office announced the sentencing of an 18-year-old who opened fire with a “ghost gun” during a gang-related dispute and killed 16-year-old innocent bystander and honor roll student Angellyh Yambo as she walked home from school in April 2022. The defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Neliza Abad Rivera, Enriqueta Rivera’s daughter, said her mother was a “beautiful person inside and out” who was “always happy” and “wanted everyone to be together,” NBC New York reported.
The 71-year-old victim was a maintenance worker in Manhattan at officers for Major League Baseball and the Food Network, her daughter said.
The grieving daughter said the senseless gun violence against innocent people in the community, in this case and in other ones, “has to stop.”
“Justice will be served for my mother,” Rivera said. “Everyone will know her name: Enriqueta Rivera Melendez.”
Enriqueta’s eldest daughter Magaly Gomez shouted that her mother “did not deserve to die like this” on the “street that she loved,” CBS News reported.
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