NEWBURGH – City Police in Newburgh have identified the victims of the early morning shootings as Tabitha Cruz, 20, and Omani Free, 18, both residents of the City of Newburgh.
Cruz was said to be a cheerleading coach and Free was a senior at Newburgh Free Academy.
During the incident at a Halloween party at 119 Broadway at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday, five other people were struck by gunfire, police said. They are expected to recover. Police are not going to release their names.
City Councilwoman Cindy Holmes, who was with Free’s mother the night before, said something must be done to stop the violence.
“We need some really strong intervention here with our youth I don’t know what the problem is,” Holmes said. “We have to find out what the root of the problem is. Nobody deserves this; nobody.”
A friend of the victims, identified as Kayla Anne, wrote on her Facebook page later Sunday: “It’s crazy how you think you’re going to a party to have fun but little do you know that, that will be the last thing you ever do, the last time you will have fun, the last time you would have seen your family when you left, …. the last time you took a breath…. it’s honestly so sick and ruthless what people can do, I don’t understand how you can live with yourself after killing someone let alone 2 people, they were someone’s daughter…. the people I used to see every day I will never see again, only on shirts…. again 2 people who were gone too soon, who didn’t deserve what happened to them….this also brings us back to when Keyshan was also ruthlessly shot to death….prayers to the families of Omani Free and Tabitha.”
US Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) called this latest round of gun violence “senseless.”
“My thoughts and prayers go out to these young women, their families and loved ones, and to the residents of the City of Newburgh. Folks deserve to feel safe in their homes and trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods on Halloween, yet once again we are left praying for those who had their whole lives ahead of them but have been robbed of their future because of senseless shootings. Enough is enough – the gun violence in our city must end,” Maloney stated.
The investigation is continuing by Newburgh City Police, State Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Anyone with information is urged to call Newburgh Police at 845-561-3131.