JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A middle-aged man was killed in Jersey City this past weekend as he protected his wife from armed robbers.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the woman was being targeted in her driveway, when her husband stepped between the wife and the gunman. The assailant was after the woman’s handbag.

Detectives were back to speak with the shooting victim’s widow, Margaret Smith, whom neighbors had heard scream early Sunday morning.

“I heard only the shots and screaming of the wife — that’s it,” said neighbor Godofredo Jacinto.

Killed in the shooting was George Smith, 63. The shooting happened just after midnight Sunday morning on Danforth Avenue inside Smith and his wife’s home.

They had been out to the nearby Moose Lodge where Smith was a member. When they arrived home, parking their minivan in their driveway, they were approached by two men.

Police said one of the suspects grabbed the woman’s purse. Her husband tried to grab it back and was shot.

Many of the neighbors heard the shots, and Margaret Smith’s cries of disbelief.

“I heard the wife screaming,” said neighbor Christoforos Hadjistyllis. “It was a terrifying scream.”

Hadjistyllis said it is hard to comprehend this happening to George Smith. And at the Moose Lodge, friends of the victim describe the wife as just shattered with grief.

“This shouldn’t happen to George, because he was, he never would have harmed those people that they probably thought he was going to,” said friend Dan Pronti. “But he was meek; he was very timid and quiet.”

Understandably, the violent episode had neighbors concerned for their own safety.

“I’m worried,” Jacinto said. “I’m worried and I’m scared.”

For police, it is a difficult case — complicated by the fact that none of houses in the area has a surveillance camera outside.

There was another weekend killing in Jersey City in addition to the one that took Smith’s life. Kenneth Chisolm, 48, was shot multiple times as he stepped out of his Seidler Street apartment.

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