NEW YORK (NewsNation) — A 64-year-old woman was struck and killed by a stray bullet in the Inwood section of Manhattan Monday, authorities said.
Valeria Ortega was walking to the grocery store when the bullet struck her in the head in broad daylight, NewsNation affiliate PIX11 reported. Her family said she lived just a few blocks away from where she was killed.
Police said the suspected shooters may have been riding scooters when they got into a confrontation with a person driving a car and started shooting.
Ortega was the latest person to be killed by a stray bullet, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
On Christmas Eve in New Orleans, popular comedian Brandon “Boogie B” Montrell was struck and killed by a stray bullet while out buying groceries for his grandmother, WVUE reported.
And in November, popular rapper Takeoff from the group Migos was killed by a stray bullet in Houston.
The Gun Violence Archive categorizes stray bullet shootings as “Unintentional Shootings” — also including accidental discharge of a gun.
In 2020, there were roughly 2,300 unintentional shootings, the archive reported. In 2022, the number has lowered to about 1,600.
Daniel Webster, the co-director of John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, told NewsNation that there are more guns on the street now that are contributing to the increase in unintentional shootings.
“So more guns, more space in more spaces, and more shootings occurring is likely to translate into more, not only intent people intentionally harmed, you know, intended targets, but those who are unintended, that were not the ones who were being intentionally targeted,” Webster said.
He said there still isn’t a bona fide method or system to collect accurate data on stray bullet shootings and deaths, but reiterated that it is obvious the more guns that end up in the wrong hands, the greater the possibility of people being struck or killed by stray bullets.