125 Killed in Gas Station Explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh

At least 125 people were killed and hundreds were injured in an explosion at a crowded gas station in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region as thousands of ethnic Armenians rushed to flee into neighboring Armenia, the separatist territory’s authorities said Tuesday.

Some 28,000 people — about 23% of the region’s population — have fled across the border since Azerbaijan defeated separatists who have governed the breakaway region for about 30 years in a swift military operation last week, according to Armenia’s government.

Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh scrambled to flee as soon as Azerbaijan lifted a 10-month blockade on the region’s only road to Armenia. That blockade had caused severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel. While Azerbaijan has pledged to respect the rights of Armenians, many residents feared reprisals.

“I think we’re going to see the vast majority of people in Karabakh leaving for Armenia,” said Thomas de Waal, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think tank. “They are being told to integrate into Azerbaijan, a country that they’ve never been part of, and most of them don’t even speak the language and are being told to dismantle their local institutions. That’s an offer that most people in Karabakh will not accept.”

The explosion took place as people lined up to fill their cars at a gas station outside Stepanakert, the region’s capital, late on Monday. The separatist government’s health department said that 13 bodies have been found and seven people have died of injuries from the blast. An additional 290 people have been hospitalized and scores of them remain in grave condition.

The cause of the blast remains unclear, but Nagorno-Karabakh presidential aide David Babayan said initial information suggested that it resulted from negligence, adding that sabotage was unlikely.

Armenia’s health ministry said a helicopter brought some blast victims to Armenia on Tuesday morning, and more flights were expected. The Russian peacekeeping force in Nagorno-Karabakh also provided helicopters to carry victims to Armenia.

Armenian authorities also said that they brought 125 bodies over to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh for identification. The country’s Health Ministry clarified that all of those were killed in the fighting last week.

Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev said on X, formerly Twitter, that hospitals in Azerbaijan were ready to treat victims, but did not say if any had been taken there. Azerbaijan has sent in burn-treatment medicine and other humanitarian aid, he said.

Azerbaijan also said Tuesday that 30 metric tons (33 U.S. tons) of gasoline and 34 metric tons (37 U.S. tons) of diesel fuel were being sent into the region.

The Azerbaijani military routed Armenian forces in a 24-hour blitz last week, forcing the separatist authorities to agree to lay down weapons and start talks on Nagorno-Karabakh’s “reintegration” into Azerbaijan.

Ethnic Armenians gather in hope to leave Nagorno-Karabakh region for Armenia in the center of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.The Armenian government said that more 6,500 Nagorno-Karabakh residents had fled to Armenia as of Monday evening. Moscow said that Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh were assisting the evacuation. (AP Photo/Aspram Avanesyan)

Gasoline has been in short supply in Stepanakert for months, and the explosion further added to the shortages, compounding anxiety among many residents about whether they will be able drive the 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the border.

Cars bearing large loads on their roofs crowded the streets of Stepanakert, and residents stood or lay along sidewalks next to heaps of luggage.

Nagorno-Karabakh authorities asked residents to hold off on leaving in order to keep the road clear for emergency services and said buses would be provided for those who want to leave.

Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region within Azerbaijan under the Soviet Union. Separatist sentiment grew in the USSR’s dying years and then flared into war. Nagorno-Karabakh came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces, backed by the Armenian military, after a six-year separatist war that ended in 1994.

In another war in 2020, Azerbaijan took parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and completely reclaimed surrounding territory that it lost earlier. Under the armistice that ended the 2020 fighting, Russia deployed a peacekeeping force of about 2,000 to the region. Russia’s influence in the region has waned amid its war in Ukraine, emboldening Azerbaijan and its main ally, Turkey.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has blamed Moscow, the country’s main ally, of failing to prevent the hostilities, accusations the Kremlin has angrily rejected. The Russian Foreign Ministry retorted, denouncing Pashinyan’s statement as an “attempt to shift responsibility for failures in domestic and foreign policies onto Moscow” and part of efforts to take Armenia out of Russia’s orbit in favor of forging stronger ties with the West.

“The Armenian leadership is making a huge mistake by deliberately attempting to sever Armenia’s multifaceted and centuries-old ties with Russia, making the country a hostage to Western geopolitical games,” the ministry said in Monday’s statement.

It denied allegations that Moscow was fomenting the protests in Yerevan calling for Pashinyan’s ouster.

De Waal predicted that political infighting in Armenia would increase.

“We’re going to see unstable days in Armenia with various forces trying to get rid of Pashinyan and others on the contrary trying to defend him because they fear some kind of Russian-backed attempt to get rid of him,” he said.

Original Article

Family Says Smuggled Drugs Led to Former NFL Star’s Shocking Death

Two weeks after former NFL star Mike Williams arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital and a week before he died there, the grandmother and the mother of his daughter contacted Tampa Police.

They said they heard someone had brought him Percocet, a prescription opioid painkiller, the day Williams went into cardiac arrest, according to records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

Police declined to provide a copy of the statement, citing an active criminal investigation. But the Times reviewed photographs of the statement from its author, Traci King, grandmother to Williams’ 8-year-old daughter.

“The nature of the crime is under review,” the police department said in an email to the Times.

Three of Williams’ close friends have since shared similar concerns with the Times: That during his stay in the hospital, around the corner from the stadium where he once dazzled roaring crowds as a receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Williams was supplied with drugs by visitors.

Williams’ cause of death is “pending further study,” Chris Wilkerson, spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, said in a statement Monday. An initial case summary could not be released because of “an open active criminal investigation,” Wilkerson added.

“I don’t have any information to release and cannot even confirm if this person was in the hospital due to patient privacy laws,” a spokesperson for St. Joseph’s said.

Williams’ loved ones say they fear that unprescribed drug use could have complicated his recovery from the injury, which brought him to the hospital by ambulance and left himpartially paralyzed in late August. Williams died Sept. 12. He was 36.

“People are walking around free, and Mike is dead,” his longtime friend David “Phūj” Thornton said. “It is sad if people (who visited Williams) at his bedside didn’t have his best interests.”

An injury at work

Williams was working for Brandon-based Exodus Electric Corp. at the time of his injury, said Tierney Lyle, the mother of his daughter. When the Times called Exodus Electric Monday, the man who answered the phone confirmed Williams worked there, but declined to provide further details.

Lyle said she believes he was struck in the head Aug. 18. How and why remain unclear.

The day after Williams’ death, the federal government opened a safety inspection case into the electrical servicescompany, records show. There is no mention of Williams in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s online summary of the case. The location of the incident under inspection is listed as: 3625 W. Gandy Blvd #611, a Target in South Tampa.

A spokesperson for the administration said Monday that they were unable to discuss details of an open investigation, including the nature and date of the incident that prompted the case.

Williams thought he had walked away from the August incident with just a headache, Lyle and two of Williams’ friends, Andrew Dixon and Tyshawn Edwards, told the Times. Williams was looking forward to quality time with his daughter, who just turned 8, that weekend.

Severe headaches and blurring vision mounted, they said.

Williams drove with his daughter to a local CVS to buy her candy but, unable to walk, had to remain in the car, Lyle said.

Two days later, Williams’ girlfriend Veronica Ramos dialed 911. Williams’ friends told the Times that by that point, he’d lost feeling below his waist. Ramos declined to comment, asking to be able to mourn in peace.

“Hello,” Williams says in a breathy tone on a recording of the 911call obtained by the Times. Much of the conversation has been redacted by the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, though Williams can be heard wailing: “Oh, my God, ma’am, please, please.”

The dispatcher says help is en route. Ten minutes after the call began, a Hillsborough Fire Rescue engine pulled up to the single-family home where Williams and Ramos lived, tucked into a quiet, leafy street in Riverview.

First responders took Williams 16 miles northwest to St. Joseph’s, records show.

Williams spent the days that followed in the intensive care unit, diagnosed with brain lesions and undergoing spinal surgery, said Lyle and other friends who visited him in the hospital.

A long road to recovery

Results from a spinal fluid test revealed a staph infection, for which Williams was placed on antibiotics, said Lyle, 32.

Out of intensive care, Williams was put into a transitional care unit, facing paralysis from the waist down, Lyle said, with the prospect of eight hours of therapy daily for months to come. Doctors said the former Bucs receiver would have to learn to walk again.

A fourth-round pick out of Syracuse in 2010, Williams burst onto the Tampa Bay scene with 65 receptions and 964 receiving yards as a rookie, leading the team with 11 touchdowns.

His final year with the team was marked with trouble. In 2014, his younger brother reportedly stabbed him in the thigh at the palatial Lutz home he wasrenting in a gated community. There were other 911 calls, too,as well as threats of eviction and misdemeanor trespassing charges.

After four seasons with the Bucs, he was traded to his hometown Buffalo Bills. He finished his NFL career spending part of 2016 with the Chiefs in the offseason.

Friends and family told the Times they recognized Williams’ road to health would be long, but that it felt possible. Williams would smile and was able to talk on the phone. They knew him as a fighter, someone who poured every ounce of his being into everything he did.

“He was on his way to recovery,” Lyle said.

Then late Sept. 1, two weeks after the work incident, she learned he’d gone into cardiac arrest. An MRI, Lyle said, revealed he had no brain activity.

Lyle said Williams’ doctor explained he’d gone into respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest due to low oxygen levels.

The next day,Lyle and her mother say they received a call from Edwards, Williams’ close friend.He’d heard someone had brought pills to St. Joseph’s, which Williams had consumed on top of the prescribed pain medication administered by hospital staff.

Edwards, 33, told the Times he did not witnessed any drug distribution firsthand but said that at one point during his hospital stay, Williams’ asked him: “Can you bring me some Percocet?”

Stunned, Edwards says, he hung up the phone. But someone else, he believes, fulfilled the request.

A star, struggling

Edwards, also from Buffalo, looked up to Williams as a big brother figure.

Introduced by a mutual friend, they clicked instantly. Williams was determined and generous, treating people to gifts and nights out even after his football career and the multimillion-dollar paychecks were over, Edwards said.

He believed Williams was going through a “tough patch,” and had begun leaning on kratom for relief and energy. An herbal substance that can produce opioidlike effects, kratom’s popularity has boomed in recent years. It remains widely available, despite lawsuits and warnings from health authorities.

Edwards suspects someone brought Williams kratom too, delivering it in a soft drink bottle. Two of Williams’ other friends, Thornton and Andrew Dixon,shared similar suspicions with the Times. None say they saw a bottle firsthand and kratom is not mentioned in King’s police statement.

Williams sometimes grew irritable during his hospital stay, friends who visited him told the Times. He also repeated he was in grave pain, voicing dissatisfaction with the hospital’s response.

“Man, I’m having a hard time,” Dixon recalls Williams telling him on the phone one day. “Man, they not doing nothing for me.”

A firefighter with Tampa Fire Rescue, Dixon was on shift one night, bringing a patient to St. Joseph’s. While his lieutenant completed paperwork, he visited the ICU to see Williams again. His skin appeared drained of color, his eyes sunken in their sockets, Dixon said.

“I know that look all too well,” he later told the Times. “I see it all the time in my line of work.”

He leaned over Williams’ bedside, kissed his forehead and whispered into his ear that he loved him.

An incorrect report

Two weeks after Williams arrived at St. Joseph’s, a Spectrum TV station in his hometown of Buffalo erroneously reported Williams had died. The news was picked up by media outlets nationwide, including the Times.

Lyle awoke to these reports, devastated and then perplexed when she learned he was still on life support.

In a room on the hospital’s third floor, she found Williams motionless but alive, connected to a web of tubes that kept breathing for him. She says she saw him slightly stir when he heard his daughter Mya’s voice, blinking and crying but unable to move.

“He knew we were there,” she said later.

The next afternoon, Lyle said, he was taken off the ventilator. That day, Thornton, the longtime friend, visited again. Williams was “a cerebral person,” Thornton said. He recalled a night when Williams worked out Thornton’s signature card trick while the rest of the crowd was stumped.

“Figure out a way to come out of this,” Thornton whispered into Williams’ ear at the hospital. “Just like you figured out my card trick.”

Williams continued breathing on his own for five days before he died.

His friends and family planned a candlelight vigil for him and a balloon release, to be held by the stadium where crowds once cheered his name.

UK Footballer Heartbroken as Wife Dies Months After Wedding

A professional footballer, Josh Vickers, has been left heartbroken after his wife died just three months after their wedding.

The former Arsenal star, 27, tied the knot with his wife, Laura, back in June. However, tragedy has since struck for the young couple after she passed away last week.

Vickers has since taken to Instagram earlier today (September 24) to share a heartfelt statement about Laura to his fans.

The footballer began: “I have written and unwritten this so many times and still can’t find the right words to say and don’t know if I ever will.”

The footballer went on to explain his lost wife to a ‘long battle against cancer’ on Tuesday evening (September 19).

The tribute continued: “Laura is the strongest, bravest and most loving person I have ever met.”

“Even though everything she was going through, she continued to smile, never letting anything get in the way of having a good time and making a lifetime of memories.”

“We have cried, laughed and danced our way through some tough times.”

Vickers continued, saying he will ‘cherish every moment’ the pair spent together from the ‘the first time’ they met to the moment she ‘peacefully passed’.

“I know that you will be looking down on me and continuing to inspire me every day,” he added.

The Derby goalkeeper concluded: “Thank you to everyone that has supported myself and both families through this incredibly difficult time.”

“Truly fortunate to have the most amazing family and friends!”

“I Love You Always & Forever.”

The Derby team has since let their fellow teammate know he’s in their thoughts, after holding up his ‘Vickers 31’ shirt during yesterday’s match against Carlisle after he missed the game for personal reasons.

“We’re all with you mate,” wrote Derby forward Martyn Waghorn on Instagram.

Arsenal’s official Instagram page commented under Vickers’ post: “We’re all thinking of you, Josh.”

Michelle White, the photographer who captured the image Vickers uploaded as a tribute for Laura, penned: “My heart is truly broken for you.

“I can’t imagine the heartache you’re feeling. Your beautiful wedding day, your wonderful wife and the love you both had for one another will forever be one that I’ll always remember.”

She added: “Thank you for allowing me to capture the most special day, and as many memories we squeezed into that day! I am truly grateful I could do this for you.

“Sending you all the love and strength in the world. Rest well our beautiful girl.”

Original Article

Construction Worker Dies Working on Las Vegas Grand Prix

A construction worker has been tragically killed while helping set up this year’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas.

According to a local CBS affiliate, police were called to the Bellagio Fountains on the Las Vegas strip at around 11:30am on Saturday.

Footage from the scene shows a number of officers arriving at the Bellagio following reports of a serious injury.

A worker setting up structures for the upcoming F1 event was said to have suffered a ‘major laceration to the neck’, before he was rushed to a local hospital. 

It was there where the man in question was later pronounced dead following the laceration to his neck.

Further details on the incident have yet to be made public at this time.

In a video shared on TikTok, one user alleged that the tragic accident occurred because F1 workers ‘push the construction too fast’.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reportedly set to lead a subsequent investigation.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix, set to take place on November 19, will see drivers pass through all the major landmarks, including the Bellagio.

Caesars Palace, the Venetian and The Sphere will also be passed during the race.

Nevada has not hosted a Grand Prix since 1982, with race organizers reportedly forking out $560million in construction to bring it back this year.

Former NHL Star Dies in Motorcycle Accident at 29

Reality star Savannah Chrisley’s ex-fiancé Nic Kerdiles died from his injuries in a motorcycle accident early Saturday morning, according to WRKN News 2.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department reportedly told the Nashville station that Kerdiles, 29, ran through a stop sign in a residential area north of the Tennessee capital while on his Indian Motorcycle at around 3:30 a.m.

According to the outlet, police said Kerdiles hit the driver’s side of the BMW, who did not seem to be injured from the crash, but Kerdiles was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Chrisley’s rep did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, and a rep for the MNPD and Kerdiles could not be reached.

On Friday night, Kerdiles shared a photo of himself with his helmet on riding his motorcycle. He wrote below the vehicle on his Instagram Story, “Night rider.” Nic Kerdiles.

Earlier this month, the former professional hockey player — who played for the Anaheim Ducks from 2014 to 2017 before being drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 2018 — reflected on making the most of every day in an Instagram series of photos from time spent with his family back home.

“Time in this life goes by quicker and quicker each day. I will never again take these days with them for granted and my advice is the same for everyone else,” he wrote in the caption.

Kerdiles was previously engaged to Chrisley, 26, after they began dating in November 2017.

In July 2020, Savannah shared with PEOPLE that the engagement and wedding was off. She explained of her and Kerdiles’ decision: “Nic and I have been together for two and a half years. We’re just trying to find our place in this world.”

“We’re working on ourselves in order to be better for each other. I like to say our relationship is unique and we’re kind of marching to our own beat,” she said.

While the reality star said she and Kerdiles were still together, she felt they “rushed into things way too fast” and now “want to make sure we’re both in a healthy place.”

In September, Chrisley shared in an Instagram post that the couple had “decided to call it quits.”

The Unlocked podcast host wrote at the time, “There’s no hatred between the two of us…and in all honesty…that makes saying goodbye even harder. We have nothing but love, respect, and admiration for one another but it’s time for us to move forward individually.”

University President Collapses and Dies at Memorial Event (Video)

The acting president of Temple University in Philadelphia died suddenly Tuesday after becoming ill and collapsing on stage during a campus event, the school said. 

JoAnne A. Epps, 72, was attending a memorial service for Charles L. Blockson, curator of the Blockson Collection, when she got sick. She was taken to Temple University Hospital where she was pronounced dead, the school said. 

“There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss,” a university statement states. “President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple. She spent nearly 40 years of her life serving this university, and it goes without saying her loss will reverberate through the community for years to come.”

The cause of death has not been shared by university officials. Temple University Provost Gregory Mandel choked up as he described Epps.

“We are all in deep grief and at a loss for words. To know Joanne is to be her friend,” Mandel said at the news conference. “She was one of the most remarkably compassionate and caring individuals I’ve ever known.”

Epps was the former dean of the university’s law school and provost. She was named acting president in April following the resignation of Jason Wingard, Temple’s first Black president, Fox Philadelphia reported. 

“I would never have imagined even becoming a professor at Temple, let alone being in this position,” Epps recently told the news outlet.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro described Epps as a “powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University for nearly four decades.”

“Losing her is heartbreaking for Philadelphia. Lori and I are holding JoAnne’s loved ones in our hearts right now. May her memory be a blessing,” he posted on X, formally known as Twitter. 

As acting president, Epps focused on enrollment and the escalating crime levels near the university’s campus.

College Football Coach Dies After being Hit by Truck

Dartmouth College’s head football coach Buddy Teevens, 66, died Tuesday of injuries sustained after being hit by a truck while cycling on March 16 in St. Augustine, Florida, the Teevens family announced in a statement released through the school.

“Our family is heartbroken to inform you that our beloved ‘coach’ has peacefully passed away surrounded by family. Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained proved too challenging for even him to overcome,” the statement said.

“Throughout this journey, we consistently relayed the thoughts, memories, and love sent his way. Your kindness and letters of encouragement did not go unnoticed and were greatly appreciated by both Buddy and our family.”

“This is tragic news for Dartmouth and the entire football world. Buddy not only was synonymous with Dartmouth football, he was a beloved coach and an innovative, inspirational leader who helped shape the lives of generations of students,” Dartmouth president Sian Leah Beilock and director of athletics Mike Harrity said in a letter to the Dartmouth community.

The March incident occurred when a bike ridden by Teevens was struck by a pickup truck, according to the school, which it described as an “accident.” In updates about his condition, Teevens’ wife Kirsten shared in April that his right leg had to be amputated after the accident and that he had suffered spinal cord injuries.

Teevens coached Dartmouth for 22 seasons, having previously played for the Big Green as a quarterback, winning Ivy League Player of the Year honors in 1978.

“Buddy was nationally known for his drive to make football safer,” the letter from Beilock and Harrity said. “He reduced full-contact practices by focusing on technique, leading to the development at Thayer School of Engineering of the Mobile Virtual Player, a robotic tackling dummy that has also been used by other college programs and NFL teams.”

Interim Head Coach Sammy McCorkle informed the team of Teevens’ death after Tuesday’s practice.

Dartmouth announced that it will play its scheduled game Saturday against Lehigh and honor Teevens during the 2023 football season.

“There will be a moment of silence prior to the game and a gathering of remembrance afterward,” the school said. “Dartmouth also plans to honor his legacy in the coming weeks and months with input from the Teevens family.”

Original Article

Jazz legend Nat King Cole’s Great-Nephew, Tracy Cole, 31, Stabbed to Death

A Georgia man who was killed this week while on an Atlanta street early Thursday morning has been identified as the great-nephew of legendary jazz singer and pianist Nat King Cole.

Tracy Cole, 31, was stabbed multiple times near the intersection of Centennial Olympic Park NE and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard NW around 2 a.m. Thursday, according to FOX 5 Atlanta. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. 

No arrests have been made and investigators don’t have a motive. 

“[He was] always laughing, always smiling with his corny jokes,” Cole’s friend Octavia Oliver said of him. “Everybody loved him.” 

His friend Henry Stokes added, “He was one of those guys who was always around with positive energy, and it was always so good to be around Tracy.”  

Cole was a cigar aficionado who worked at the Cigar City Club near Atlanta and attended the Cascade United Methodist Church, according to FOX 5. 

“Tracy had that personality that just really transcended culture, it transcended race, it transcended class,” Senior Pastor Kevin Murriel told FOX 5. “Tracy made a friend of everyone. He was family. He was more than a young man in the community. He was that child who walked the floors and aisles of the church. He just brought an abundance of joy everywhere he went.”

Along with his relationship to the “Unforgettable” singer who died in 1965, Cole was also a second cousin of late singer Natalie Cole, and had traveled the world with his jazz musician grandfather, Freddy Cole, who died in 2020. 

“We’ve got to come together and stop this violence because so many of our young men and women and being taken far too soon,” Murriel added. “He had so much more ahead of him and was doing wonderful things. And, again, we’re just heartbroken by this.” 

Original Article

Star Boxer’s Husband Dies During Her World Title Fight

Diego Arrua, the trainer and husband of boxer Sabrina Perez, died Friday night in Tijuana, Mexico, after suffering a heart attack during his wife’s world title fight against Australian Skye Nicolson.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman revealed the news on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“It is with deep sadness that we have been informed of the sudden death of Argentine coach Diego [Arrua], who suffered a devastating heart attack during the Sabrina Perez fight in Tijuana,” Sulaiman said.

Arrua, 58, collapsed during Rounds 9 and 10 of his wife’s bout for the WBC Interim World Featherweight belt. Perez lost the fight by unanimous decision.

Original Article

Innocent Grandma Killed While Running Errands by Gang

A beloved Bronx grandmother was shot dead while running errands Thursday afternoon when a suspected gang member shot at a rival in a busy commercial area.

Footage obtained by The Post shows Enriqueta Rivera, 71, crumbling to the concrete in broad daylight near a Mott Haven crosswalk as the gunman and his target scatter in opposite directions.

“She was a sweet woman,” said longtime neighbor Luis Gutierrez, 46. “A beautiful person. She had just retired. She was enjoying her downtime. She had two teacup Yorkies that she adored.”

Gutierrez said Rivera was the matriarch of a large family and frequently hosted relatives at her apartment — and occasionally prepared food for his wife and kids as well.

“She loved her family,” he said. “Every other Saturday her two daughters would come by and have a family gathering, a lot music, food. Just having a great time together.”

The grieving neighbor — who lit a memorial candle in front of her apartment building Friday afternoon — said the area has become engulfed in violence.

Enriqueta Rivera was shot dead Wednesday afternoon.
Grandmother Enriqueta Rivera was shot dead Thursday afternoon.

“It’s like a kid growing up in Kuwait, in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “These are things you just have to adjust to.”

Carmen Pagan, 65, a worker at a hair salon near the scene of the murder, said locals are afraid to walk the streets amid spiking crime and flying bullets.

“Business is down,” she said. “They don’t want to be around the corner. [The violence] is gonna keep on. It’s happened three days back to back. And they’re not going to do anything. The police, the mayor, they never do anything about it. We’re all by ourselves here in the Bronx.”

Police said Rivera was desperately attempting to flee the sound of gunshots when she was hit in the back.

The combatants were arguing on East 138th Street near Brook Avenue just after 12:30 p.m., when one of them began spraying bullets in the teeming commercial area, cops said.

Another innocent bystander, a 34-year-old woman, was shot in the arm and is expected to survive.

“Those bullets struck two innocent people standing out on the street,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Benjamin Gurley at a news briefing Thursday night.

Mott Haven crime scene.
The scene of Rivera’s murder in Mott Haven.

The lethal violence was just one of three shootings over the past week that left four innocent bystanders injured – including an 8-year-old boy who was hit by a stray bullet just after getting off his school bus Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators believe the shootings could be tied to worsening gang activity.

“We believe that these shootings have gang nexus or crew nexus to them,” Gurley said.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark characterized Rivera as an adored figure in her local community who was just “standing there minding her own business.”

“This has got to stop … Enough is enough,” Clark said.

“This is happening in broad-daylight,” she stressed, as authorities pleaded with witnesses to come forward. “We cannot allow this to continue to happen.”

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