HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — A woman was shot multiple times, including once in the eye, while trying to intervene in her neighbors’ domestic dispute in an apartment building in Manhattan on Wednesday, according to law enforcement sources.
The victim, 41-year-old Jemina Garay, was also struck in the abdomen and the buttocks when gunfire erupted in the sixth-floor hallway of the Lincoln Houses on East 135th Street near Park Avenue in Harlem at around 8:30 a.m., sources told PIX11 News. The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Garay was in a coma Wednesday night after surgery, her brother-in-law told PIX11 News. She’s expected to survive her injuries, according to the brother-in-law.
Garay is known around the building as a nice person and someone who loves her family.
“She’s an excellent mother, and she got caught up in someone else’s situation that she didn’t deserve to be,” said Nicole Williams, a friend of Garay.
The incident started as a fight been the alleged shooter and his girlfriend, according to police. Apparently, Garay could not take hearing the commotion coming from her neighbors’ apartment and went to intervene. But that’s when things went from bad to worse.
Garay’s husband and the suspected gunman, 35-year-old Avery Dunning, got into a fight, sources told PIX11 News. Dunning allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Garay several times in the hallway. It’s unclear if she was the intended target.
Dunning’s partner then ran into her apartment and locked herself inside before police broke down the door looking for Dunning, sources said. Dunning was not in the apartment, sources said.
Dunning was upset because Garay had called the police after hearing him and his girlfriend fighting all night, according to sources. He told his sixth-floor neighbors to “mind their business,” sources said.
Officers responded to the call but the girlfriend said everything was fine and refused to file a complaint, according to sources. The couple has a history of domestic violence, sources said.
There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of Domestic or Gender-Based Violence, you can call the NYC 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE, dial 311 or visit the Family Justice Center in your borough.Find more domestic violence resources online.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.