An alleged domestic dispute turned violent in Ozone Park Saturday morning leading to the shooting death 40-year-old woman, whom cops said was gunned down by her husband, in front of their children, leaving an entire neighborhood in shock.
At around 11 a.m. Saturday morning, cops responded to a report of a shooting inside a home at 97-44 104 St. near 101st Avenue.
There, Kevin Canty, 43, a former transit cop, allegedly shot dead his wife, Jessica Canty, in front of their two children. The children, a girl and a boy, then ran from the home in a panic, neighbors say, shouting that their father had shot their mother. Police sources said she suffered multiple gunshot wounds to her torso.
“I heard screaming and thought it was just kids playing at first,” said one of Canty’s neighbors, “Then I heard adults screaming and knew it couldn’t be good. I went outside and the kids were running up the block with my neighbor. They were crying. They were screaming that their mommy had been shot.”
Ben Roumani, who lives in Richmond Hill and was walking on 101st Avenue at the time of the incident, said he saw the children banging on the doors of several cars stopped at the red light at 104th Street and 101st Avenue.
“They were screaming ‘Daddy shot mommy, please help,’” he said. “They looked petrified. It all happened so fast. I wasn’t sure it was real.”
One of Canty’s neighbors took the children to a bodega, the Casablanca Deli on 101st Avenue, where they stayed until police arrived.
“I saw they being taken into an ambulance,” said a nearby resident who came to the scene. “They didn’t seem shaken up, I guess they were in shock.”
The children, who a family friend said were 5 and 8 years old, were taken into protective custody and were to be released to family members.
Jessica Canty and her children were in that same deli shortly before the shooting, according to surveillance video and a worker at the bodega. The worker added that the family were regular customers there.
Immediately after the shooting, cops canvassed the block in armor with shields, searching for Canty. They yelled for residents to go inside their homes and take cover, unsure if the gunman was still on the loose in the area.
“Please stay in your homes and take cover,” a cop shouted to curious residents on 104th Street, who poked their heads out of their front doors. “Please, go back to your homes and stay inside.”
An earlier incident several blocks away where a man was found shot to death in the street led to some concern that a shooter was loose in the neighborhood.
A police helicopter circled low over the scene as cops shut down busy 104th Street — the main southbound thoroughfare between Jamaica Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard — for nearly 12 hours.
At around noon, an hour or so after the shooting occurred, several cop cars raced away from the scene, down 104th Street toward Liberty Avenue.
They were responding to a report that a man was trying to break into a car at Centreville Street and Pitkin Avenue in the Centreville section of Ozone Park, a mile from the scene of the Canty shooting — an area already on high alert over recent car thefts. Police later identified the man as Canty, and they arrested him. A police source said he had told neighbors he thought the car was his and was trying to get inside the key didn’t work. He was also said to have been disorientated at the time of his arrest.
Canty is facing second-degree murder charges, as well as a charge of criminal possession of a weapon.