The young mother killed in last week’s robbery hostage drama in Bensonhurst could have been shot by accident, police officials said this week.
“The bullet that killed her went through her arm and into her chest,” said a high ranking NYPD source said this week. “It could be accidental... the gun could have just gone off.”
That fact did little to console the grieving family of Jessica Enger, the 31-year-old hardworking mom who seems to be just as much a victim of circumstance as the gunman’s bullet.
Enger was staying with a friend – another young mother – in an apartment at 2468 85th Street as she saved up money for an apartment for herself and her six-year-old son Nicholas, who was staying at her mother’s.
At 6 a.m. on October 1, a masked gunman crept into the first-floor apartment, grabbed both her and her friend, identified in published reports as Lisa Ananias, and forced them to an upstairs apartment, where neighborhood pizzeria owner Xhevdet Nuzi lived.
The gunman barged into the apartment, woke Nuzi up and threatened to shoot one of the two women if he didn’t fork over the money the thief apparently knew he had in the apartment.
Sometime during the theft, the thief fired one shot, hitting Enger. She died of her injuries at Lutheran Medical Center.
He then fled the apartment with $9,000 in cash, officials said.
“I was asleep. He put the gun to my head,” a shaken Nuzi told reporters hours after the theft. “He said, ‘Give me the money or I’ll shoot.’ Then he did.”
Police helicopters and cruisers swept the quiet community that was just waking up Wednesday, but the gunman was never found.
Cops are now going through every piece of evidence they can in the hopes it leads to the masked man’s whereabouts.
“There was a lot of evidence at the scene,” a police source said. “There is also an issue about the money. Some was taken and some was left behind.”
Enger’s distraught friends and family said that the doting mother was working two jobs to help pay for an apartment for her and her son.
On her MySpace page, which is teeming with photos of her son, Enger said that she was working as both an esthetician at 212 Spa in Manhattan as well as an office manager at Champion Combustion on 17th Avenue in Bensonhurst.
She had just returned to Brooklyn after going to school in Florida, friends said.
As this paper went to press, the investigation into her death is riddled with small mysteries, such as why the back door to the first-floor apartment was left unlocked when the thief crept in and if the truculent relationship between Nuzi and his downstairs neighbors played any role in the robbery.
“[Nuzi, Ananias and Enger] weren’t the best of friends,” the source said. “Right now the motive is robbery, but it could have been something more.”
Cops are asking anyone with information regarding last week’s slaying to call the 62nd Precinct at (718) 236-2611 or the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.