BOONTON, N.J. (PIX11)—Police were on the hunt Wednesday for the gunman who opened fire on a Pakistani-American couple while they were walking with their toddler on New Jersey street, leaving the mother dead.
According to authorities, the shooting happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday in Boonton, New Jersey, a small town about 35 miles northwest of New York City.
Investigators believe three suspects were involved in the shooting that left 27-year-old Nazish Noorani dead and her husband 26-year-old Kashif Pervalz wounded. Their 3-year-old son was not harmed. The family was on their way home from after having dinner at Noorani's sister's home, two blocks away when gunfire broke out.
When the family reached Cornelia Street, the block between the two homes, three men approached them and opened fire, police sources and neighbors told PIX 11 News.
When the five gunshots silenced, the mother was dead, and the father was severely wounded. He is now in a local hospital in critical but stable condition from four gunshot wounds.
The 3-year-old who was with the couple when they got shot was not injured, although he was apparently covered in his parents' blood.
All night, and well into Wednesday morning, investigators from three different departments worked three different crime scenes in Boonton, all related to the fatal shooting.
Family members have been coming to and going from the home of Nazish Noorani's family all night and into the morning. PIX11 was inside as relatives tried to figure out how they were going to explain Ms. Noorani's death to her other son, a five year-old who was not with the couple when they got shot.
"How do you think the mood is inside? They're devastated," the father of the husband who was shot said in an interview. Shafiq Hassan had not been allowed to see his son Kashif Parvaiz at the hospital during surgery to remove bullet fragments. Parvaiz is a Brooklyn native who moved with his wife to Boston in order to pursue graduate studies in architectural engineering at Harvard.
She was from Boonton originally, and was back home from Boston when tragedy struck. Her family is deep in mourning and chose not to speak with the media.
On Wednesday night an emotional candle light vigil was held just steps away from where the shooting took place. Family and friends shed tears in reflection.
There were also tears some ninety minutes away in the Flatbush home in Brooklyn where the couple lived. Zareen Hassan is the younger sister of Pervaiz, she said that her brother was indeed set to start be in Boston on Wednesday to prepare for classes at Harvard. She also added that her sister-in-law who leaves behind two children had plans to return to school and study criminal law.
Although no arrests have been made in the shooting, a preliminary investigation suggests that the incident was not random. Initial reports said police were looking at the shooting as a possible hate crime, which has since been determined to be false. But cops learned that Parvaiz was mugged a few months ago in Boston and are investigating to see if the mugging and shooting are related.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi released this statement Thursday morning:
Attorneys, detectives and support staff from the Morris County Prosecutor's Office along with the Morris County Sheriff's Office and the Boonton Police Department have been working around the clock on this investigation. These investigative efforts are still underway. We will not publicly release information which could ultimately compromise our ongoing investigation.
To be clear, my primary concern is to professionally solve this crime and being able to prove same in a court of law. Doing it the right way takes time and patience. While not releasing information at this time may be frustrating, it is being done so that our paramount objective of arresting and prosecuting the person(s) responsible for this brutal slaying are brought to justice.
We appreciate that the family and community wish to learn of the circumstances of this terrible tragedy. But again, it is absolutely necessary to protect this investigation, so that our investigative team is able to do its job and ultimately get to the truth and not provide the community bad data, rumors, and the other kinds of wild speculation that come from unreliable sources, as has already occurred.
Hence, we will release information when it is determined to be practically feasible and when we are assured that the data is correct and not based on faulty speculation.