After being asked to not smoke in front of a family of eight, a man allegedly plowed his car into the group, not once but twice, killing a pregnant mother of six.
The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon outside a 7-Eleven in Garnerville, New York and it was all triggered by a verbal altercation between the suspect and the family, according to the Haverstraw Police Department.
“The suspect then proceeded to enter his vehicle, which was parked in the 7-11 parking lot, and drove the vehicle forward striking eight family members,” police wrote. “The suspect then reversed the vehicle and drove forward again, striking the family members for a second time.”
That suspect has been identified as Jason Mendez, 35.
All eight family members, including six children, had to be transported to a local hospital.
“Tragically, the 32 year old female victim succumbed to her injuries at the hospital,” police wrote.
That victim has been identified as Melissa DeLoatch, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Journal News in the Lower Hudson Valley. A 35-year-old man and three of the children were treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries. The other children were also treated for their injuries. One of the children was in a baby stroller, which DeLoatch reportedly threw herself in front of, according to WABC. The children’s ages range from 10-month-olds old to 10, according to the complaint. DeLoatch was reportedly pregnant with her seventh child, according to the WABC report.
Mendez was confronted at the scene by responding police officers where he allegedly brandished “a knife and failed to comply with the responding officers [sic] verbal commands to drop the knife,” police said. He was then tased, subdued, and taken into custody. He has been charged with one count of murder in the second degree and seven counts of attempted murder in the second degree. He has pleaded not guilty.
Several additional charges are expected to be filed. It’s not clear if Mendez has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time.
Witnesses said the adult man had asked Mendez not to smoke a cigarette around his six children, and that his request triggered the deadly incident.
"I heard the father, he was telling the cops, 'I told him not to blow smoke in front of my kids,'" witness Cindy Schnalzer told NBC New York.
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