2 Women Shot Dead at Halloween Party

Teen victim in NY made last-minute decision to go
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2016 12:01 AM CDT
Cops are still looking for a suspect or suspects who fled the scene.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – A high school senior who was among two people killed at a Halloween party where gunfire broke out had made a last-minute decision to go with a friend, her mother said. Omani Free, who was 18 years old, decided to go to the party, about five blocks from her home in Newburgh, when a friend became available on Saturday night and otherwise would have been due home around the time the gunfire broke out, her mother, Rhonda Valentine-Free, tells the AP.

Police in Newburgh, 70 miles north of New York City, said the shooting took place just before 1am Sunday inside an apartment building, killing Free and 20-year-old Tabitha Cruz. Five people were wounded, but none of the injuries was considered life-threatening. Authorities are looking for a suspect or suspects who fled the scene. Valentine-Free says she and her husband first got word that something had happened when a friend of their 15-year-old son who had been at the party called to say their daughter had been shot. She says they went to a hospital, where their daughter died hours later. "She was a sweet girl," Valentine-Free says. "She was my chocolate baby." (Read more New York state stories.)

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