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Man charged in death of Queens mom shot by stray bullet: NYPD

Queens mom fatally shot by stray bullet in
Posted at 7:25 AM, Oct 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-03 18:39:45-04

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens — A man has been charged with murder, manslaughter and other crimes for allegedly firing a single shot on Wednesday morning that pierced a 3rd floor apartment window and struck a woman, killing her.

Issam Elabbar, 31, faces up to 25 years-to-life in prison if convicted. He's awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a complaint charging him with murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and attempted petit larceny.

“This is a heart-wrenching case," Queens DA Melinda Katz said. "A youngster, just 14-years-old, woke to the sounds of his mother gasping for air and found her bleeding and near death. Because of the defendant’s depraved indifference, a husband is now without a wife and three children are now without a mom."

Police arrested Elabbar Friday after someone who recognized him from surveillance images called police, an NYPD spokesperson said.

According to police, 43-year-old Bertha Arriaga was in her bedroom in her family's Jackson Heights apartment around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday when she was suddenly struck in the head by a bullet.

The mom of three heard noises outside on the street and went to look out the window when she was shot, according to her brother-in-law Javier Aguilar.

Her 14-year-old son heard the window shatter and rushed in to find his mother wounded and bleeding on the floor, Aguilar and police said.

According to authorities, an attempted bike theft took place when the shot rang out.

Police released surveillance video Wednesday of two persons of interest. A $10,000 reward was offered for information that led to an arrest and indictment in the case.

Police charged Elabbar, of Queens, with murder, manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and petit larceny.