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Long IslandCrime

Arrest in death of Queens woman shot in bedroom by stray bullet, NYPD says

The NYPD on Saturday arrested a man for firing into the air while fleeing a scooter theft — a shooting that killed a Queens mother of three upstairs early Wednesday, according to the county prosecutor.

Arrested and charged at 2 a.m. was Issam Elabbar, 31, of Queens, according to the news release from the NYPD. Elabbar is being charged with murder, manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon — which the NYPD said was a loaded firearm — and petit larceny.

It was not immediately clear whether he is represented by an attorney.

There had been a $10,000 reward for an arrest, indictment and conviction in the case.

The woman who was killed, Bertha Arriaga, 43, was struck in the neck at about 12:45 a.m. by a bullet that went through a bedroom window of her apartment, which was on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, a department assistant police chief had said.

She was discovered on the bedroom floor by her 14-year-old son, who called 911, according to the assistant chief.

In a news release, Queens district attorney Melinda Katz said, "This is a heart-wrenching case. 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. How senseless."

The accused shooter, who is from Corona, was awaiting arraignment Saturday night and could face a 25-years-to-life prison sentence, the release said.

"Video surveillance of the street allegedly shows defendant Elabbar and another individual using a tool to cut through a chain tying a motorized scooter to a fixed object on the sidewalk," the release said. "While fleeing the scene, the defendant was observed firing one shot from a loaded weapon in his right hand across his left shoulder without looking to see where the shot would be directed."

At the time of the shooting, the NYPD had said that their focus was on two men shown on video nearby trying to steal a bike in front of Arriaga's apartment.

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