THE BRONX — Brigitte, a young Bronx mom, witnessed the killing of her 22-year-old fiancé in a car seat right next to her and told PIX11 she and her family have been getting threats ever since.
There are Instagram accounts being set up under the name of her father’s upstate address and another address in Florida.
“They’re basically saying, ‘If you say anything, we’re gonna kick your father’s door down and send you a picture of his face,’” Brigitte told PIX11.
She’s the mother of a 2-year-old daughter. She told the little girl that “daddy went to sleep.”
The toddler’s father was Jose Velez.
Brigitte said she and Velez were driving to work on the afternoon of June 19 when their car was stopped by an old friend Thomas Bowles on Van Nest Avenue in the Bronx.
Brigitte said Bowles was talking into his headphones, saying, “Jay’s here, pull up.”
Brigitte said the next thing she knew, Bowles’ brother Michael was at the driver’s side window.
“He said, ‘Yo, Jay,’ and pointed the gun right here,” Brigitte recalled, gesturing toward her chest.
Velez was shot once with a low-caliber bullet and tried to drive away.
He crashed his Honda several blocks away and lay dying in Brigitte’s arms.
“When he was in my arms gasping for air, he was just basically choking on his own blood,” Brigitte said.
She said the threats escalated this past week, after Thomas Bowles had a court appearance. He was arrested in a South Carolina trailer. His brother Michael Rodriguez remains at large.
Brigitte said she’s upset at Instagram’s response to complaints made by her and a number of friends.
Brigitte and several others received a similar response from the company when they reported the account that’s named with the address of Brigitte’s father:
“While we reviewed the account you reported for violence or threat of violence and found it does not violate our Community GuideInes, reports like yours are an important part of making Instagram a safe and welcoming place for everyone.”
“This is insane,” Brigitte wrote on Instagram.
Brigitte told PIX11 her fiancé was not in a gang, but the threats were using gangster terms.
“They said, ‘We got hittas out here, too,’” according to Brigitte, who read some of the threats from her cellphone. “Keep it G and keep it quiet. Keep it gangster. Basically, don’t talk.”
Velez’s mother is also getting threats. Her younger teenage son was reportedly jumped and stabbed last year.
Brigitte said she’s reported every threat to law enforcement.
“They know about the threats. The District Attorney knows about the threats. Victims Services knows about the threats,” Brigitte said.
“I’m not gonna run from these guys. I’m not scared of them, and I don’t believe that just because you shoot someone you put fear in my heart.”