NEW YORK – A soldier on leave from the Army fired a gun in the air during a night of drinking and accidentally struck a mother of two in the head as she stood at her fifth-floor apartment window, prosecutors said Thursday. The woman died instantly.
Pvt. Danny Carpio, 23, was being held pending arraignment on charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a news release.
The 28-year-old victim was killed by the stray bullet at the window of her Queens home late Wednesday.
"As a result of his thoughtless action, a young woman is now dead and her two small children must face the difficult and heartbreaking chore of adjusting to life empty of their mother's presence," Brown said in a statement.
Brown said Carpio had been drinking at a relative's house before he met up with friends outside a Queens apartment complex Wednesday night. Carpio fired his gun three or four times in the air, Brown said.
Prosecutors identified the victim as Selina Akthela, though police gave a different spelling for the last name — Akthel — and published reports said it was Akhdar.
The victim's husband, Golam Maola, told reporters gathered at the family's home that he was on the phone with relatives in Bangladesh just before midnight Wednesday when he heard two shots, then found his wife lying in a pool of blood.
The couple's two young children, also in the apartment at the time, were unharmed.
Family friends told reporters that they had been planning a surprise birthday party for the victim, who would have turned 29 on Saturday.
Prosecutors said Carpio has addresses in Killeen, Texas, and Queens. A spokesman for the district attorney's office said prosecutors would not have information about a lawyer for Carpio until his arraignment.
Army spokeswoman Betsy Weiner said the Army "will work in tandem with the police and give them any cooperation that they need."