NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Prosecutors said one of the two people killed in a shooting in Newark this week was an innocent bystander caught in crossfire.
Around 5 p.m. Monday, the shooters were in a Jeep chasing an Oldsmobile Alero with four people inside. When they arrived at Irvine Turner Boulevard and Spruce Street, the Alero crashed into another car and the people in the Jeep opened fire on the Alero, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s office.
Velma Cuttino, 43, was a front-seat passenger in another vehicle waiting at a red light at the time. She was shot and was pronounced dead at 5:26 p.m. Monday at University Hospital in Newark, police said.
Investigators believe Cuttino was an innocent bystander.
Cuttino had been on her way to the store with her husband in search of curtain rods, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported. On their way her life ended with the sound of gunfire and crunching metal.
“They were going out together,” a friend who wished to remain anonymous said, “Just got in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Family and friends remembered her as a nurse, a loving mother, and a doting grandmother.
Now, friends are worried about Cuttino’s husband.
“He had to get sedated because he was so emotional about it just like anybody else if your loved one gets shot right in front of you. You know the next thing you’re going to do is just break down,” a friend said.
Wesley Childs, 22, of Newark, was also shot and killed. He was in the Alero at the time and was pronounced dead at 5:47 p.m. Monday at the scene, police said.
Three other young men were in the Alero with Childs, and one of them – age 19 – was shot and wounded, police said. He was reported in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
Investigators were trying to determine whether Childs or others in the Alero were targeted.
Witnesses told police they saw the gunman flee the scene in the black Jeep, while four cars crashed causing the intersection of Irvine Turner and Spruce to be closed off for hours.
The search continued for the suspects in the shooting as of late Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s sad,” witness Kevin Jones said Monday. “It’s getting ridiculous, you know what I mean?”
Two other people who were not in the SUV suffered minor injuries in the accident that followed the shooting.
In what police believe to be an unrelated incident later Monday night, another man was shot and killed at Avon Avenue and South 12th Street. Anthony Flowers, 22, was shot around 8:35 p.m. on the street following a reported residential dispute, and was pronounced dead about 40 minutes later, police said.
Anyone with information in either case is asked to call detectives at (877) 847-7432 or (973) 621-4586.
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