BRONX, NEW YORK – Officials said Jessica White was with about 10 people at St. Mary’s Park Houses in Mott Haven when a man opened fire at about 10:15 p.m. EDT Saturday, adding the shooting may have been gang-related.
A Bronx mom, desperately trying to shield her three young children from gunfire, was shot dead when she stepped into the path of a bullet tearing through a park outside their apartment building Saturday night, her reeling and devastated mother told the Daily News.
When 29-year-old Jessica White saw a man dressed in black open fire into the playground at the John Adams Houses in Longwood around 10:15 p.m., she jumped up and took a bullet right below her heart, said her own mother, Gola, who watched in horror as the deadly scene unfolded in a few frozen seconds.
White’s final, frantic wish was to somehow spare her children.
“She said, ‘Mommy! The kids!’ ” Gola White said Saturday night.
Her daughter, she said, cried that she had to “go get the kids.”
Then, Gola White said, “My daughter got up and hit the ground.”
Detectives investigating at the scene early Sunday morning suspect the violence stemmed from a gang beef, police sources said. And the describe the gunman as wearing a ski mask when he approached the park.
The inconsolable grandmother said she was sitting on a park bench next to Jessica inside the public housing complex on Westchester Ave. the gunman suddenly appeared and opened fire, apparently targeting a group of men sitting nearby in the playground, she said.
But it was her innocent daughter who got hit.
“I believe that the bullets were for them, but bullets don’t have no name, bullets don’t have no direction, so of course when my daughter stood up she got hit, under her heart. And she’s gone,” Gola White said.
She said she had been laughing and joking with her daughter just moments before the shooting. Her three grandkids had been playing in the park on a warm spring night.
“My daughter was an innocent mother sitting out here while her kids were playing in the park,” Gola said.
“Never did nothing to nobody. Just got off of work today. Just sitting out here to let the kids get a little bit of air and this is what happens.”
She said Jessica was her third child killed at the housing project.
Cops were looking for the shooter and probing just who he was targeting. police sources said.
The victim’s grieving mother said that after her daughter was shot, she scooped up her three grandkids and took them inside.
Gola White’s two sons then ran outside and performed CPR on Jessica, but to no avail. She was taken to Lincoln Hospital but could not be saved, officials said.
“My daughter’s not coming back. She’s not coming back. Who’s gonna pay for my daughter’s death right now?” Gola White said.
“This is not my first,” she said. “I lost three kids here. I lost three kids.”
Another relative said she was puzzled at how the mother was brought down by gunfire. “She wasn’t into drama,” she said.