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Grandmother shot dead after answering door

By Sadef Ali Kully

At 1:39 a.m. Monday morning, 71-year-old grandmother Leta Webb answered her door in Jamaica and moments later her family woke up from the loud noise of a gunshots to find her body on the porch.

The shooter fled the scene and there had been no arrests made as of Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Webb was pronounced dead at 4:36 a.m. from a gunshot wound to the head and left arm at Jamaica hospital, according to police.

Police said nothing was stolen from the home and that the intent was homicide.

Her son-in-law, Kevin McDowell, was home at the time of the shooting.

“Everybody loved her, so I can’t understand why someone would want to do that to her,” McDowell told CBS. “I was sleeping and we heard the knocking on the door, but it was frantic knocking, like ‘I’ve got to get in the house.”

The next thing McDowell heard were gunshots. “We come downstairs and she’s laying right there on the porch in a pool of blood,” said McDowell, who believes the suspect is from the neighborhood.

“Whoever did it, they’re in this area because they knew to jump the fence and run to the lot and went all the way down to the park,” he said.

There was speculation her murder could be related to gang retaliation. Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, the NYPD released surveillance video that recovered footage of a white Ford Econoline van that a suspect or suspects used immediately following the incident.

According to court records, her adopted son, Arnold Webb, a suspected Bloods gang member, is currently serving a 25-year-to-life sentence for manslaughter. The grief-stricken family and friends Tuesday evening huddled outside the house surrounded by yellow tape at the 119th Avenue home near 152nd Street in Jamaica.

“She was the matriarch of the family. This doesn’t make no sense,” said a shocked family friend and neighbor in his 40s, who did not want to be named. “I went to school with her son and I have lived here for as long as she has and she was a good woman. Always helping anybody and really there for her family.”

Neighbors near the home and in the surrounding streets spoke of Webb, who was born in Belize, as a good woman who helped people and enjoyed her family.

Imam Charles Aziz Bilal, who lives nearby, said the area was a family-oriented neighborhood but gang violence and petty crime had plagued hardworking residents.

“My mosque used to have men out here patrolling the streets,” said Bilal, who is from the Alhamdulillah Mosque on Sutphin Boulevard. “This area is very dark at night, it has a lot of drug activity and gang activity, which is unfortunate because this is a nice area.

“Innocent people meet these types of unfortunate situations. This a problem we have in our own community, we hurt ourselves,” said Bilal, who was on his way to give his condolences to Webb’s family.

The NYPD has issued a $2,000 reward for any leads in the ongoing investigation.

Gina Martinez contributed reporting.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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