HARLEM, New York (WABC) -- Police have identified the suspected gunman in the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman killed while walking home from her own baby shower in Harlem early Sunday.
Shanice Young, 31, was just weeks away from giving birth when she was shot in the head in front of her building on West 128th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
It also happened right in front of her daughter.
"A pregnant woman, coming home from her baby shower, who was shot and killed. In cold blood. By someone that she knew," NYPD Officer Amir Yakatally said.
The NYPD on Tuesday said they are searching for 40-year-old Justin Soriano, who is believed to have fired the fatal shot, and they're hoping an image of him will lead to an arrest.
"He is someone who had a firearm and felt comfortable using it," Yakatally said.
Yakatally is the commanding officer of the 32nd Precinct in Harlem and says that is the common thread linking his precinct's alarming rise in violent crime.
Police say Soriano is the victim's ex-boyfriend.
Young was taking the gifts into her building lobby when police say a fight broke out between the two men. Neighbors say one of the men was Young's ex-boyfriend, and the other was the father of her unborn child.
One of the men had a gun that went off, and Young was struck in the head.
A makeshift memorial now sits at the scene for Young and her unborn daughter.
She also had two other children and was caring for her two younger siblings.
"Shanice was a victim," her sister Metania said. "She had two (children), and the third one died with her."
On Tuesday night, the state's newly minuted Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, who until last week was a state senator from Harlem, marched with a group to the site where Young died.
"What we're dealing with right now in Harlem is a national catastrophe," Benjamin said.
This comes as Governor Kathy Hochul announced millions in grants to violence interrupter groups to staff up and fan out and help keep the peace.
"The NYPD is doing what they can but it takes the community to help because they can't do it by themselves," said Jackie Rowe-Adams of Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.
So far this year Yakatally's cops have worked 36 shooting incidents, versus 26 this time last year. And murders are up 160% from just five, to 13.
"Most of the time it's individuals who know each other, and they get into a dispute and they're carrying guns, illegal firearms. And they're resolving the disputes with those firearms," Yakatally said.
No arrests have been made at this time.
The investigation is ongoing.
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).
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