Brooklyn, NY - Someone with a gun opened fire on a Brooklyn street as students were let out of school Friday afternoon, killing pregnant Zurana Horton who had 13 children and one on the way and injuring two others.
Zurana Horton, 34, gave her life to hover over children to protect them from harm when gunfire rang out around 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon outside Peanut Lucky Supermarket on Pitkin Avenue and Watkins (112 Watkins Street) diagonally across the street from the back of P.S. 298 school in the Brownsville section, of New York where students had just been dismissed 13 minutes earlier.
After being struck in the face and chest Zurana was pronounced dead at the scene. A 31-year-old woman was hit in an arm and the chest and was hospitalized along with 11 year old Cheanne McKnight, 11, who also sustained a graze wound to the cheek. Both were being treated at Brookdale Hospital.
Zurana Horton is being regarded as a hero after police said she was seen hovering over several children to protect them as the shots were fired.
“As soon as we crossed the street, they started shooting,” said a cousin of slain Zurana Horton, 34, a mother of 13 who had just picked up one of her children from the school.
Horton grabbed her child and several others, and put herself in front of them “to protect them as the shots were fired,” said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
“The gunfire was everywhere. We couldn’t move. There was nowhere to go. We didn’t know where the bullets were coming from,” said Horton’s cousin.
As Horton lay dead, the shot 11-year-old, Cheanne McKnight, “kept screaming, ‘They shot me in the face! They shot my face!’ ” said her aunt, Ximinia Fernandez.
“I didn’t know if she was OK — I just saw a big hole in her face,” Fernandez said at Brookdale Hospital, where she drove the sixth- grader after the shooting.
“That poor little girl. I was so scared for her,” she said. “I lied and told her it was gonna be OK. I had no idea when I saw the blood all over her sweatshirt … We’re gonna find whoever did this and there’s gonna be another news story soon.”
McKnight’s mother, Harriet, told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis that her daughter is alive thanks to Horton.
“She could have been dead. Thank God it was just her face,” Harriet McKnight said. “She knew what happened, her face hurt. She said it felt like a rock hit her.”
Family and friends in the Horton’s Brownsville apartment said she loved children, and would do anything to protect them. So when the gunfire erupted, she used her body as a shield.
The Brownsville area is known for gang violence. It is also known as the area where tens of thousands of people, mostly black and Hispanic men, are stopped, questioned and frisked annually by police in order to prevent incidents like this from happening.
Two suspects are being questioned by the police and 3 other suspects are being sought. A $12,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible.
At least 12 shots were fired. Seven shell casings from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol were found on the nearby rooftop. Five other shell casings were found on the sidewalk in the front of that building, police said.
Witnesses also told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan that there has been a long-running dispute between two housing projects.
“It’s Howard Houses against Glenmore — every other day, gangs against gangs. That’s why I pulled my children out, so they could be safe from this,” one woman told Sheridan.
This is so horrible. Some people just have very little regard for human life these days. It is indeed quite sickening. I report about so much violence in New York. City of Dreams, city of a lot of violent endings..