A woman attempts to enter a New York City deli around the lunch hour. A second woman runs up behind her, brandishes a gun, aims it at her target’s head and pulls the trigger. It’s all caught on video, and the New York Police Department says it happened in real life in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Latisha Bell, 38, of the Bronx, is now charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Officers identified the victim of the execution-style killing as Nichelle Thomas, 51. Bodega employees said Thomas was a regular at the deli and was well-liked, according to WNBC-TV. A neighbor described her as a “nice person.”
Bell and Thomas had tumultuous, on-and-off relationship, the defendant’s sister told The New York Post. She said the defendant lived with mental illness and that Thomas returned to Bell every time she saw Bell doing better.
“Domestic violence issues” plagued the couple, the relative said. She claimed that Thomas caused Bell to lose custody of her son.
“She [Nichelle Thomas] was a sweet woman,” the sister said. “I never had an issue with her. She was a sweetheart. I don’t know her for anything other than being a sweetheart, and my sister is too, and this is what it led to.”
The relative claimed Bell finally snapped: “she felt that she couldn’t take it no more and enough was enough.”
She alleged that the victim was using her sister “for her own advantage,” but she did not explain precisely how.
Nonetheless, she maintained that Thomas continued to be in a relationship with Bell despite knowing the defendant was mentally ill.
“You don’t play with the mentally ill,” she said.
This is horrifically sad. Park Slope is grieving for Nichelle Thomas tonight. https://t.co/jGrFUM8Cuj
— Brad Lander (@bradlander) April 22, 2021
Neighbors also said that Thomas and Bell fought often. Prosecutors cited more than a dozen domestic violence reports between the two women. Bell was the aggressor in most of them, the Post said. Neighbors told the paper that Thomas was peaceful.
Bell reportedly surrendered to police and confessed.
“I am turning myself in for the homicide,” she said, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Post. “The gun is inside the bag.”
[Screengrab via NBC New York]
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