Shooting of young couple stuns quiet New Jersey suburb

Shooting blog

A quiet suburb in New Jersey has been stunned by the apparently targeted slaying of a young Pakistani-born woman who was shot dead while walking with her husband and their 3-year-old son.  The shooting occurred late Tuesday night in Boonton, about 22 miles from New York City, and left 27-year-old Nazish Noorani dead and her husband, Kashif Pervaiz, hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

Their son, who was in a stroller, was not injured but was reportedly covered with blood after the attack, which took place after a family dinner to mark the breaking of the daily fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. The Brooklyn family was strolling from one relative's home to the house of Noorani's father to pick up their other son when they were attacked, accounts say.

Noorani was wearing traditional Pakistani clothing when she was killed, but relatives and police said they do not believe the attack was fueled by ethnic bias, the Associated Press reported. "There are a lot of Muslims here," a cousin of Noorani, Waj Khan, told the AP. Khan has lived in Boonton for 15 years. "This is just shocking. It's like it isn't reality," he said.

Without bias as an apparent motive, the reason for the shooting of a young family walking in a safe suburb after a family dinner is baffling to those who live here. Adding to the mystery was Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi's statement that the shooting "appears to be target-specific." "There is not a continuing danger to the general public at large," Bianchi said.

But family members said they had no idea who would want to kill Noorani, who was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and her husband, 26, who comes from Brooklyn and owns a home construction business. The Star-Ledger newspaper in New Jersey said this was the first homicide in Morris County in more than a decade.

One of the first to arrive on the scene was Kate Bakstad, who lives nearby. Bakstad, identified by the Star-Ledger as a first-aid responder, told the newspaper that she found Noorani lying on her back, apparently dead already. Her husband was shot in the ankle and shoulder. He was hospitalized in New Jersey.

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--Tina Susman in New York

Photo: A stroller is bagged as evidence in Boonton, N.J., where a woman walking with her husband and 3-year-old son was shot to death Tuesday night. Credit: Bob Karp / Daily Record

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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