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Police identify woman shot and killed at Niskayuna's Hillcrest Village apartments

Police identify woman shot and killed at Niskayuna's Hillcrest Village apartments

Police identify woman shot and killed at Niskayuna's Hillcrest Village apartments
Paramedics tend to the shooting victim at the scene Sunday night
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Niskayuna police Tuesday morning identified the woman shot and killed Monday night at the town's Hillcrest Village West apartments.

Ayanna C. Hunter, 21, of Schenectady, was taken to the hospital by paramedics after the 8:20 p.m. shooting, but she was later pronounced dead, police said.

Niskayuna police continued to investigate the shooting death late Tuesday morning with the assistance of the New York State Police Major Crimes Unit, police said. 

Tuesday Update: Niskayuna shooting victim Ayanna Hunter, 21, remembered for athletic skills, love of family, May 28, 2019

Police were interviewing any potential witnesses and working with other agencies to develop leads in the case, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Niskayuna police through the county dispatch center at 518-630-0911.

Police received a call reporting shots fired at the apartment complex at 8:20 p.m.

“It’s my understanding there’s a pavilion down the street and there was an outside gathering,” said town Police Chief Daniel McManus, at the scene of the shooting Monday night. “There were several people outside when it occurred. We don’t know at this point how many people might have been involved.”

McManus said six to eight shots reportedly were fired.

WEB Niskayuna Shooting locator map

Police from the town and city of Schenectady responded first. A canine unit from the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department and state police also were at the scene.

Police put plastic yellow police tape around several parts of the complex, which features many apartments with simple balconies. Police with flashlights could be seen looking in the grass; a state police helicopter circled the complex several times.

Alexa Belcastro left her apartment with her three-year-old daughter, Raelyn. “We’re not staying here, there’s no way,” she said.

“We heard something that sounded like fireworks,” Belcastro added. “We looked outside and somebody was on the ground. I’m shaking, I’m shaking right now.”

Belcastro noticed the gathering at the pavilion.

“They looked like they were having a great time,” she said. “It seemed like a family event.”

A white vehicle that might have been involved in the crime was secured by police at the scene. Police are also looking into the possibility that the shooter and victim knew each other.

While police were still searching for the suspect late Monday, McManus said, “It seemed to be isolated to this area. We don’t have any reason to believe they’re still in the area at this point.”

Police added they did not believe the woman lived at Hillcrest, but could not confirm.

Tuesday Update: Niskayuna shooting victim Ayanna Hunter, 21, remembered for athletic skills, love of family, May 28, 2019

The shooting happened after a cookout type party had been going on for most of the afternoon, according to Hillcrest resident Edward Miner. 

Miner is a morning news photographer with Gazette news gathering partner CBS6. He said he was about to head to bed when he heard shots, "like 6 or 7."

"Having shot handguns before, I recognized the sound immediately," Miner told The Gazette via Twitter. "I have a police scanner on my nightstand so I switched it on and heard them announce the shooting as I opened my blinds."

He said he looked out and saw the victim on the ground and saw "lots of people" leaving the scene quickly.

 

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