BOSTON (AP) – Two men will face murder charges after a pregnant woman hit by gunfire on a bus in Holyoke, Massachusetts, delivered a baby that later died, authorities said Thursday.
Alejandro Ramos, 22, of Holyoke, is scheduled to be arraigned in Holyoke District Court on Thursday for his alleged involvement in Wednesday’s shooting, investigators said. He will be charged with murder, and other charges are expected to follow.
An official at the Hampden District Attorney’s Office said it was unclear if Ramos had been appointed an attorney yet.
A second suspect — Johnluis Sanchez, 30, of Holyoke — remains hospitalized. Sanchez will be formally arraigned on a charge of murder when his condition allows, with additional charges also expected to follow.
A man who answered the phone at a number associated with a possible relative of Sanchez told the Associated Press on Thursday: “All that is misinformation. I’ll have my attorney reach out to you.”
Police are looking for a third suspect.
Police responded to the shooting Wednesday at 12:38 p.m. and said it appeared three male suspects were involved in an altercation before gunshots were fired. State police sent patrols, K-9 teams and investigative units to help Holyoke Police with the investigation, including the search for suspects in the area.
The pregnant woman, who hasn’t yet been identified, was shot while seated on a public bus passing through the area and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, investigators said.
“The infant, who was delivered, and needed life-saving medical services, tragically passed away,” they added.
Jose Almonte, manager of the Almonte Market 2, said the chaotic scene erupted right outside his store.
A man who’d bought juice in the store was jumped by two other men when he stepped outside, then gunfire erupted, Almonte said.
“They went for him, and gunfire started,” he said.
He said he didn’t see who produced the gun but that there was a struggle as shots rang out and others sought cover. He said there were more than a dozen shots fired.
One man was shot in the leg and dragged into the store, while another man who was shot in the hand, ran off, Almonte said. The man who was jumped by the other two assailants fled on an electric bike with the handgun, he said.
Pioneer Valley Transit Authority spokesperson Brandy Pelletier confirmed that one of the agency’s buses was on its route when it was involved in the shooting but said there would be no further comment on the active investigation.
The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office and the Holyoke Police Department are investigating.
Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia extended his condolences to the woman’s family in a statement on Facebook, adding that he is “equally outraged and frustrated with these senseless acts of violence and illegal activity on our streets.”
He said he struggles daily as he tries to offer a balanced solution.
“Quite frankly, I have lost my patience. I plan to work with all resources available to me to push this nonsense out of our city,” Garcia said.
Holyoke, which is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Boston, is a city with a population of nearly 38,000. It is also home to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.