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Killing of mother, 20, pushing baby in stroller enflames N.Y. gun debate

Police line in New York. (Onnes/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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A 20-year-old woman was fatally shot Wednesday evening in New York’s Upper East Side as she pushed her baby in a stroller, police said.

Police said a man wearing a black sweatshirt and sweatpants approached the woman near the corner of East 95th Street and Lexington Avenue, and shot her at close range before fleeing.

Officers arrived to find the woman with a gunshot wound to the head. Emergency responders brought her to a hospital five blocks away, where she was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Police did not immediately release the victim’s name and said an investigation is underway. When contacted by The Washington Post early Thursday, a public information officer with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) said there were no updates.

News of the brutal killing was trending on social media early Thursday. Some Twitter users appeared surprised that it occurred in the Upper East Side, an affluent Manhattan neighborhood — though the exact area where the victim was shot is at the border between the Upper East Side and East Harlem — while others alleged a double-standard in the response to gun violence affecting more well-to-do parts of the city.

New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) said the killing illustrated how gun violence can affect all families, whether they “are on the Upper East Side, or East New York, Brooklyn.”

New York tightens gun laws in response to mass shootings

At 8:23 p.m. local time, law enforcement responded to a report that someone had been shot opposite 164 E. 95th St., near a primary school and a playground, Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said during a news briefing late Wednesday.

They arrived to a find the 20-year-old woman, unconscious with a gunshot wound to the head. Emergency medical responders took her to the nearby Metropolitan Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:20 p.m.

Sewell said a preliminary investigation revealed “that the 20-year-old victim was pushing an approximately 3-month-old in a baby stroller on East 95th Street, when an unknown person approached her and fired a single shot into her head from a very close range.”

“Immediately after the shooting, the suspect fled the scene on foot, heading eastbound on East 95th Street,” she added, calling on the public to share any information they may have with the NYPD.

City Council member Julie Menin, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, said the baby was in good condition and confirmed that the victim was the baby’s mother. She said the incident may have been related to domestic violence.

The mayor said the killing highlighted the danger of “the over-proliferation of guns on our street.”

Police in New York say the overall number of shootings in the city is down year-on-year — though the latest data show crime increased in each of the seven categories indexed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Police recorded 45 murders in New York in May, compared to 41 at the same time last year.

New York residents are increasingly concerned about crime and how to stop it — a debate that is also set to dominate the November midterm elections. It was a central issue of the recent mayoral race, with Adams, a former police officer, pledging to tackle gun violence. He has since made public safety a priority, as New York has tightened its gun laws in response to high-profile mass shootings.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down a New York state law requiring a special need for carrying a weapon, a ruling that is likely to make it easier to carry guns in some of the nation’s biggest cities.

Supreme Court finds N.Y. law violates right to carry guns outside home

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