Instead of coming together with his family to celebrate Thanksgiving, Joseph Massey had to spend his holiday trying to figure out a way to tell his four children that their mother would never be coming home.
Massey’s wife, 27-year-old Brandee Anastasia Massey, was gunned down outside of her apartment at LeFrak City at 98-15 Horace Harding Expressway in Corona on Wednesday morning, police said. She was about six months pregnant and had been returning from dropping three of her four kids off at school, according to authorities.
The stay-at-home mom was shot in the chest and arm and taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Doctors were able to deliver her baby, but the child died several hours later, according to police.
Now, hoping to develop leads in the murder investigation, state Sen. Jose Peralta and the LeFrak City Organization are each offering $2,000, in addition to the NYPD’s initial $2,000 reward, for any information leading to the arrest of Brandee’s killer.
“As this community mourns a horrific tragedy, we come together to provide however much support and comfort we can to a grieving husband and devastated family,” Peralta said. “But the most important thing we can do for them right now is to help police and law enforcement bring Brandee’s killer to justice and make whoever is responsible pay for this brutal crime.”
Since the shooting, Joseph Massey and his four children, who have not been able to return back to their home in Lefrak City, have been staying at a hotel. Peralta and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras have helped the family with expenses.
After seeing Massey Thursday night, Peralta said the father is very distraught and just wants justice for his family and children.
“All he said was, ‘I don’t know how to explain it to my children,’” Peralta added.
Peralta will also be creating a fund in the upcoming days to help provide for the education of Massey’s four children.
Norma Cooksey, 77, who lived in LeFrak City for 40 years, was friends with Brandee’s grandmother and said she was shocked when she heard the news.
“She grew up in front of me. She was a nice person,” Cooksey said.
Residents of LeFrak City, which is currently undergoing renovations and improvements, say they are concerned for their safety. The building where Brandee lived currently has no cameras and residents said the front door to enter the building remains unlocked.
“We have to really beef up security. Do we have adequate security here at LeFrak? In my opinion, absolutely not,” said Jim Galloway, coordinator for the Lefrak City Tenant’s League. “After this we need cameras on all the floors as quickly as possible. So if anybody comes in to LeFrak to do something irregular at least we can see them through any camera.”
Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thursday the shooting appears to have been a domestic dispute involving the victim’s uncle and police are looking to question to him, according to published reports.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.