61-year-old fatally shot in Harlem while sitting outside with husband

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, August 22, 2016
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CeFaan Kim has the latest from Harlem.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police are looking for the shooter who opened fire on a street in Harlem, killing a woman who police believe was simply an innocent bystander.

61-year-old Odessa Simms was outside with her husband Saturday night on Lenox Avenue and 144th Street playing cards.

It was around 11:45 when Basil Simms kissed Odessa goodnight and went back to their apartment two blocks away.

He had told her he didn't like her staying out so late.

"By the time I opened the door the phone started to ring. They told me she had been shot. I just seen her not even five minutes," said Basil.

A bullet went right through Simms' neck - killing her.

One man said he was sitting near her when it happened.

"A fellow in dark clothing came from behind a car shooting at another fellow and she went down," he said.

It's hard to find anyone in the neighborhood who didn't know Odessa Simms. They say she was like a mother to everyone.

"I'm 50 years old. I knew her since I was like 13, 14 years old. She would cook for people? Feed people? Everything, everything<" said the victim's friend, Lisa Jones.

Police spent the morning combing the area for clues.

Even if they find who did it, Simms says it won't bring his wife back.

"I ain't doing too good at all. I ain't going to to be doing too good forever now," said Basil Simms.

The couple had been married 36 years and had five grown children between them.

Sims' brother said she was one of 13 brothers and sisters.

While police were investigating the shooting, shots rang out a few blocks away about two hours later.

Two men were wounded, but are expected to survive.