A 43-year-old Queens woman was found dead in her apartment on Wednesday after a stray bullet hit her head through one of the windows. Bertha Arriaga's body was first discovered on the floor of the apartment by her 14-year-old son, while the six-year old younger son kept sleeping on the bed.
The bullet was fired by two men trying to steal a bike outside her building, according to authorities and emergency radio correspondence. Arriaga's 14-year-old son and husband tried CPR on her but couldn't save her. The tragic incident comes amid a wave of gun violence that has swept over New York City in recent months.
Arriaga was found mortally wounded and bleeding on the floor of her apartment on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights by her 14-year-old son at around 12.45 am. The son told police that he heard commotion and noise outside the building around 1 am after which he rushed to wake his mom up but unfortunately found her fatally shot.
Arriaga's husband, Jorge Aguilar, was also home at the time of the shooting but wasn't inside the same third-floor room as his wife. Her son then ran to his father to inform that his mother was shot, the boy's uncle said. The two then tried to CPR on her but couldn't revive her.
According to police the stray bullet hit Arriaga through the front window, which was smashed. Police and paramedics were called to the scene and pronounced Arriaga dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Officials said neighbors had made 911 calls around the same time reporting gunfire outside.
Killed for No Reason
Police believe that two men were trying to steal a bike chained up outside of Arriaga's apartment. Surveillance camera footage shows the two men working for quite some time to use an electric saw to unchain the bike, which created the noise heard by Arriaga's son. They make so much noise that people in the neighborhood take notice and it appears they fire a shot as they exit.
Arriaga was a victim of one of those random bullet shots, while she was either sleeping or had been trying to look through the window of her room after hearing so much noise. Detectives believe the duo is part of a crew that has been stealing bikes in the area. Crime has increased in the area 4 percent over last year, lead in part by petite larceny jumping nearly 25 percent.
Arriaga and her husband emigrated from Mexico and settled in Queens 15 years ago to raise a family. Arriaga is survived by her husband and their three sons, ages six, 10 and 14. So far no arrests have been made and investigation is still on.
According to recent statistics, New York City has seen a spike in shooting incidents and shooting fatalities, which has nearly doubled over the past year. Between January 1 and September 20, a total of 1,123 shootings resulting in 214 fatalities were reported in the Big Apple, compared with 580 shootings and 111 fatalities for the same period in 2019.