Described as "mentally ill," 38-year-old woman kills her ex-girlfriend with a bullet. But this wasn't the first time she was considered the "aggressor."
Trigger warning: The story contains graphic details of shooting that may disturb some readers.
On April 21, a chilling surveillance video was released showing a woman allegedly shooting her ex-girlfriend in broad daylight on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.
According to NY Post, the outlet that obtained rights to the video, 51-year-old Nichelle Thomas was approaching a bodega, unaware of the danger that was heading her way. As she stepped up to the door of the store, 38-year-old Latisha Bell allegedly runs up behind her and pulls out a gun. She fires at Nichelle point-blank in the back of her head and then flees the scene. The disturbing video ends with the 51-year-old dropping to the ground. Though the victim was immediately taken to the hospital, as per police statements, she passed away there. While police didn't provide a motive for the shooting initially, investigators believe it may have been a lovers' quarrel that resulted in the violent attack.
At the time, witnesses were shocked at what had happened, given that their neighborhood is usually a safe one. “I’ve been working here for 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said bodega cashier Mohammed Ali, 57.“It’s scary. If the bullet hadn’t hit her, I might have been the one hit." When he heard the shot, he ran outside and saw “a lady lying face-up on the sidewalk and above her eyes was a hole with blood coming out.”
Hours after the incident, Latisha — with her loaded gun — and her lawyer walked into the 78th Precinct station house and she surrendered herself. “I am turning myself in for the homicide. The gun is inside the bag,” she confessed, according to a criminal complaint. Turning over the gun in her person and still wearing the clothes she had on in the video, she was arrested. “The defendant walked into the precinct and makes admissions in regards to the shooting and directs officers to the gun which is recovered from defendant’s bag on the defendant’s person,” explained Assistant District Attorney Wilfredo Coto. Later, she was arraigned during a virtual Brooklyn Criminal Court hearing with the charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon levied against her, according to Independent UK.
Coto shared that Latisha and Nichelle had been in a relationship for nearly 20 years and during that time, 14 domestic incident reports were filed wherein Latisha had been named the "aggressor" for 10 of them. A woman who identified herself as Latisha's sister defended her and called her sibling "mentally ill." “[My sister] tried to leave [Thomas] alone, but the woman kept going back to her. Every time she see my sister doing well, she kept going back to her knowing she was mentally disabled,” the unnamed relative said. “When my sister left her she should have kept going. You don’t play with the mentally ill,” she said.
As for Nichelle, neighbors revealed that she had at least two children and had grandchildren as well. One neighbor named Maria Lopez, 70, said of the victim, “She was a beautiful person. I know she was going to school to be an ACS worker or something." When the people in her building smelled gas coming from Nichelle's apartment after her murder, they knocked on her door to find her son sobbing as he held his mother's photo.
“We saw the son with her picture in his hand and [he] was drastically crying and he couldn’t even answer us right. We didn’t even understand what he was saying,” said Maria. “That was horrible. I was devastated. I started crying. He said he has gotten a call from his cousin or something that she had died. I can’t believe in broad daylight people would do something as drastic [as the shooting]. It’s like if we are in the movies or something. It’s really hard.”
Cover image source: Robert Cianflone / Staff - Getty Images (Representative)