2 dead, 5 injured in Newburgh Halloween party shooting

NEWBURGH, N.Y. — Police are questioning two people in connection with a shooting at a Newburgh Halloween party that left two women dead and five people injured Sunday morning.

"This is Newburgh where everyone has a gun," a grieving Miguel Cruz told PIX11. "They don't believe in solving anything any other way.Newburgh's where dreams die and my dream just died."

The shooting happened around 12:45 a.m. on Broadway. Police said it happened inside an apartment building during a Halloween party.

Tabitha Cruz, 20, was one of the women killed when gunfire erupted.

"That was my world, my baby," Cruz said of his daughter Tabitha.

"There were between 13 to 15 shots fire, everybody running," Denesha Thompson, a Newburgh parent told PIX11. "It was a stampede."

The other woman killed was Omani Free, 18, a senior at Newburgh Free Academy. Free had dreams of going to art school and becoming a designer.

"It had nothing to do with her," Rhonda Valentine-Free, the victim's mother told PIX11. "Someone decided to pull out a gun. Omani just happened to be the first victim," the tearful mother added.

"This is some senseless mess that needs to stop," Omar Free, the victim's father, told PIX11.

Friends gathered to mourn and worry about the five injured by gunfire, some who are still recovering at Saint Luke's Cornwall Hospital.

One Newburgh parent who worked with both of the victims in a community outreach program called "We Are Newburgh" said parents in this city need to spend more time with their children.

"We need to unify," said community volunteer Joe Alvarez. "We need to be parents. We need to show them a better life."

Most of the partygoers attend Newburgh Free Academy. A rally will be held at the school Monday at 3 p.m. in remembrance of the victims.