Schenectady

Two arrested, including one teenager, in connection with slaying of Schenectady woman

Schenectady Police investigators stand in front of 1116 Sixth Avenue between Crane and Pleasant Street Monday afternoon.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Schenectady Police investigators stand in front of 1116 Sixth Avenue between Crane and Pleasant Street Monday afternoon.

Categories: News

SCHENECTADY — Two have been arrested in connection with the slaying of a city woman on Sunday, including a teenager. 

City police announced on Tuesday the arrest of Joel J. Johnson, 21, of Middletown, and a 17-year-old. 

Both suspects have been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the fatal shooting of Jennifer Ostrander on Sunday night while she was on the porch of her Sixth Avenue residence.

At least three people were on the porch at the time, said Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney. 

The alleged gunmen were dropped off by different vehicles, walked up and started shooting, Carney  said.

At least one neighbor reported a bullet penetrating the wall of his living room, causing him his family to crawl for cover.

Carney declined to discuss a potential motive, but said the shooting “does appear to be some type of retaliatory reaction for some event that occurred.”

“It’s not clear that the people who did this had an intended target on the house,” said Carney.

Ostrander’s sister, Amber Vargas, initially said her younger sister was pregnant at the time of her death, but said on Tuesday she was not, which Carney confirmed.

“The autopsy confirmed she was not pregnant,” Carney said.

Johnson has been arraigned and is currently at the Schenectady County Jail, while the juvenile suspect, whose name is being withheld due to age, has been arraigned and is currently at a secure detention facility, authorities said Tuesday morning.

“Both people charged were charged as active shooters,” Carney said.

Police also responded to reports of gunfire on Orchard Street Monday night. 

Mayor Gary McCarthy declined comment on whether those two cases were connected, referring questions to city police.

The spate of gun violence, he said, is a “phenomenon we’re seeing across the state and country.”

“We’re going to hold people accountable for their actions,” McCarthy said. “It’s just unfortunate when they do these things because the outcomes are tragic.”

The fatal shooting is the city’s fourth homicide of the year.

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