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A normally tranquil street in South Ozone Park was dotted with yellow tags Sunday afternoon, marking the bullet casings left behind after two men opened fire and killed a mother of two in front of her home following an altercation earlier that morning at a nearby bar, police said.
According to authorities, 39-year-old Sandra Bajnath and a 26-year old man neighbors identified as her husband Tony’s cousin Sean had gotten into an argument with two men early Sunday morning as they were enjoying a few drinks at the Food Hut and Bar, at 135-32 Rockaway Blvd., about a block away from her home.
The two suspects, who have not been identified, followed the family members back to the house on 135th Street around 5:30 a.m., when they fatally shot Bajnath in front of the house and fired into the back of Sean, who was taken to Jamaica Hospital and listed in critical condition, police said.
Jennifer Isaac said she was a block away from the bar when she heard the argument about 40 minutes before the shots were fired.
“I heard a female and some men arguing back and forth. What it was about, I have no idea,” she said. “It went on for a good half hour, back and forth.”
Several of Bajnath’s neighbors said they were awakened by the sound of about 10 quick gunshots, and before they got the chance to call 911 the police had already arrived on the scene.
One young man said he looked out his window to see where the shots had been fired, and heard the woman’s husband yell out, “My wife’s been shot! My wife’s been shot!”
On a street where most homes do not have bars protecting their doors and windows, investigators marked out no less than 25 bullet casings, most of them concentrated just feet away from Bajnath’s doorstep.
“This is a safe neighborhood. We all walk around and say ‘hi’ to each other at night,” one man said. “You don’t see stuff like this happen around here.”
Bajnath, the mother of an elementary school-age son and a newborn baby boy, T.J., was on maternity leave from her job as a customer service representative for Verizon, a neighbor said.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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