East Boston woman shot to death, husband wounded in N.J.
BOONTON, N.J. - Cyril Wekilsky, the 72-year-old mayor of Boonton, said he could not recall the last shooting death in his community, a small town of just under 9,000 people some 35 miles from Manhattan.
“I’m scratching my head trying,’’ he said.
Yet on midnight Tuesday, Wekilsky said, he stood at the edge of a crime scene along Cedar Street and watched as investigators struggled to account for the killing of a young woman, Nazish Noorani, 27, and the wounding of her husband, Kashif Parvaiz, 26, as the couple walked through the neighborhood with their 3-year-old son.
The extent of Parvaiz’s injuries was not immediately known.
Noorani, an emergency medical worker, had grown up here; at the time of her death, she was midway between her elder sister’s home, where she had just broken her Ramadan fast, and her father’s home, her destination, a family member said.
The couple, who also had a 5-year-old boy, lived in East Boston. At their three-story brick apartment building on Waldemar Avenue yesterday, several neighbors said they did not know either of them well enough to comment.
The building manager, Billy Qirici, said he had met the couple a few times and described them as “very nice people.’’
He did not know what either did for a living and said he thought the family had lived in the apartment for about a year.
“I feel very sorry for them,’’ he said.
Gloria Londono, 46, who has lived in the building for about four years, said she did not know Parvaiz very well but she had met him in the parking lot a few times over the past two or three months.
“He was a nice guy - friendly, polite,’’ she said.
Londono said she had never seen Noorani. She was surprised when she heard what happened to the couple.
Tuesday night, just minutes before she died, Noorani was locked in conversation with her eldest sister, Lubna Choudry, when Noorani’s husband decided it was time to call it a night.
From another room in Choudry’s house, he had texted his wife suggesting they return to her father’s house, where his car was parked and he had left his laptop, Choudry said.
They left Choudry’s house with their 3-year-old in his stroller, leaving their 5-year-old with his aunt.
Four minutes later, Choudry said, she heard about six gunshots outside her window.
“I’m thinking it’s fireworks,’’ she said. Running outside, she found her sister dead in the street, she said.
She said she did not see who might have killed her sister.
Parvaiz, who was shot multiple times, was about 10 feet from his wife, an emergency medical worker told the Star-Ledger. Katie Bakstad added that the child was “just looking around,’’ unhurt.
Parvaiz was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, said his father, Shafiq Hassan.
Authorities did not announce any arrests or offer a motive for the killing. But the county prosecutor, Robert Bianchi, indicated in a statement that it was not a random shooting.
In the statement issued Wednesday, he called the shooting “target specific’’ but did not indicate whether the target was Noorani, Parvaiz, or both, or why he was saying that.
A spokesman for Bianchi, Jeffrey Paul, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Parvaiz told relatives he had enrolled a year ago in an architecture doctoral program at Harvard University, but yesterday a spokesman for the university said it had no record of him as a student.
Parvaiz has run a small contracting business in Brooklyn and has self-published a book on Russian architecture. The back cover states that “his experience in the field of architecture and construction began humbly as a handyman while managing his father’s real estate empire.’’
His father owns a grocery store on Coney Island Avenue and several other properties throughout Brooklyn, an employee at the grocery store said.
Investigators have towed Parvaiz’s car from his father-in-law’s house, and detectives stopped yesterday outside his own father’s home in Brooklyn.
At St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boonton about 7 last night, less than a block from where Noorani died, relatives, neighbors, and friends began streaming in.
An imam was in attendance, and the church’s pastor, Laurie Wurm, led a brief prayer service.
In front of the church, a sign read, “We Mourn For Nazish. We Pray For Her Family.’’
David Abel of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Taylor M. Miles contributed to this report.