By Sarina Trangle
A retired police officer has been arrested in the murder of his wife, which left Ozone Park residents scrambling to shelter the couple’s young children from the aftermath of the fatal gunshots Saturday, the NYPD and neighbors said.
The Police Department said Kevin Canty, 43, a retired police officer, was arrested Sunday and charged with second-degree murder and criminal use of a firearm.
Just two summers ago, the NYPD praised Canty for assisting a man suffering from a heart attack in July 2012 on the department’s Facebook page.
His wife, 40-year-old Jessica Canty, was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital Saturday after she was shot in the chest and abdomen in the couple’s home on 104th Street just north of 101st Avenue at around 11 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Passersby said a neighbor brought the couple’s two children into a nearby shop after they fled from the crime scene.
One woman said she came to the store to pick up a few items and tried to comfort the children.
“They were saying, ‘My mommy just got shot. There’s blood all over the walls,’” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “They were very upset, the kids, extremely upset. Poor things.”
She, the shop owner and other neighbors said the couple had a young girl, who appeared to be 6 or 7, and a boy, who was about 8 or 9. Both were taken into an ambulance, witnesses said.
“I’m just disturbed because I see these kids everyday,” said the store owner, who noted that the family often stopped by to buy snacks on the way to school and had come in hours before the shooting. “[The mother] came at 9 o’clock. She bought them chips and nuts… They were fine; they were happy.”
Crowds gathered to watch police interview a woman on the front steps of a row of attached two-story houses on 104th Street and search a black SUV parked on the taped-off block.
But the NYPD said Kevin Canty was collared more than a mile away near Pitkin Avenue and 97th Street.
Officers guarded a car in which Kevin Canty sat and lay in the back seat on Pitkin Avenue near Centreville Street around noon.
A nearby resident said officers handcuffed the suspect and put him in the backseat of the squad car after she called 9-1-1 complaining that he was trying to break into her car.
“I told him to walk away,” she said. “He says he’s ‘trying to get in my car. This is my car.’”
She said he appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol because he dropped his money and cellphone and did not seem to care when she pointed it out.
“He was not in his normal state,” she said.
The woman said he began to walk away when police arrived, but officers stopped him.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-e260-4546 or by e-mail at email@example.com.