A retired police officer was arraigned Sunday in the murder of his wife, after which Ozone Park residents rushed to shelter the couple’s young children from the aftermath of the 10 gunshots, law enforcement officials and neighbors said.
Kevin Canty, 43, a retired police officer, was arrested Sunday and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to the Police Department and a criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney. The Queens DA’s office said he was arraigned later that day.
Canty stands accused of shooting his wife Jessica Canty 10 times with a 9-mm, semi-automatic pistol, according to the complaint. Prosecutors said he fired a bullet at her abdomen and upper chest, two shots at her right arm and front right breast and four at her right armpit, according to the complaint.
As of Wednesday, Canty had not yet been assigned a defense attorney.
Just two summers ago, the NYPD had praised him for assisting a man suffering from a heart attack in July 2012 on the department’s Facebook page. Canty retired from the NYPD on disability last May, according to the New York Post. The Postreported that Canty allegedly confessed to police that he shot his wife because he believed she was cheating on him.
Canty’s 40-year-old wife was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital Saturday shortly after she was shot at 11 a.m. in the couple’s home, on 104th Street just north of 101st Avenue, 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 and a slightly older boy. Both were taken into an ambulance, witnesses said.
The NYPD said the youth were then routed to the city Administration for Children’s Service for further assistance.
“I’m just disturbed because I see these kids every day,” 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.”
As police converged on the area, 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 prosecutors said Canty was collared more than a mile away, near Pitkin Avenue and 97th Street, where police recovered the 9-mm gun with six live rounds in it, according to the criminal complaint.
Officers were spotted guarding a car in which Canty sat and lay in the back seat on Pitkin Avenue near Centreville Street around noon. Canty seemed dazed and hit his head against the cruiser several times.
A nearby resident said officers handcuffed him and put him in the backseat of the squad car after she called 911 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 strangle@c
©2014 Community News Group
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