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Two men have been charged with the murder of an unborn baby after its heavily pregnant mother was struck by stray gunfire as she rode past them on a Massachusetts bus.

The woman, who remains critically ill in hospital, was hit when a gunfight erupted outside a busy market in the center of Holyoke just before 12.40pm on Wednesday.

A bullet flew through the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority bus on the 100 block of Sargeant Street hitting the woman who was eight months pregnant and killing her child.

Local men Johnluis Sanchez, 30, and Alejandro C Ramos Jr, 22, have been charged with murder after emergency surgery failed to save the baby.

Ramos was arraigned at Holyoke District Court on Thursday while Sanchez remains under guard in hospital after being struck during the gunfight.

Johnluis Sanchez, 30, under guard in his hospital bed before being charged with murder

Alejandro C Ramos Jr, 22, was nursing an injured hand as he appeared in court today 

The Almonte Market 2 where at least one of the gunmen sought shelter as the chaos unfolded

But investigators are still looking for a third man who is thought to have fled the scene.

‘Holyoke for decades has dealt with its share of tragedies, but an innocent bystander like that with a baby, it’s really got under my skin,’ Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia told a press conference on Thursday.

‘Pray for the family and support them any which way you can.’

Sanchez was free on $10,000 bail after pleading not guilty just two weeks earlier on charges of heroin trafficking and illegal possession of a stolen KelTec .380 pistol.

Police had also seized ammunition clips and $3,000 in cash from him.

The clear-up continued on Thursday with one car owner taping over two bullet holes that had been left in his Toyota.

Jose Almonte, manager of the Almonte Market 2, told WPRI that the chaos unfolded directly outside his store after a man who had bought juice in the store was jumped by two other men when he stepped outside.

‘They went for him, and gunfire started,’ he added.

He said he had handed security footage over to police which showed ‘three young people’ fighting, and one pulling out a gun, before shoppers leaped for cover as at least 12 shots were fired.

He saw one man dragged into the store after being shot in the leg, another run off after being shot in the hand, and a third flee on an electric bike with a handgun.

‘That’s life, that’s the neighborhood,’ he added.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said he believed all those involved had been identified. 

Ramos has been charged with murder, and other charges are expected to follow, according to officials

The clear-up continued on Thursday after the chaos that brought terror to the busy shopping district at lunchtime on Wednesday 

‘Three male suspects were involved in an altercation, during which a shooting occurred,’ he wrote on Facebook.

‘It is believed one of the rounds from that altercation struck a public transportation bus and an uninvolved female occupant, who was seated in the bus.

‘This victim, who was pregnant, was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition. The infant, who was delivered, and needed life-saving medical services, tragically passed away.

‘The two remaining suspects, one remains hospitalized and will be arraigned when his condition permits, the other is being actively sought by law enforcement.’

The clear-up continued on Thursday with one car owner taping over two bullet holes that had been left in his Toyota.

The Holyoke Police Department said they received multiple 911 calls when the shooting broke out near the intersection of Sargeant and Maple streets.

Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said the shooting ‘is believed to have stemmed from an altercation among several people.’

‘There is not believed to be any ongoing threat to the public,’ said Procopio.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by members of the State Police Detective Unit for Hampden County and Holyoke Police Detectives under the direction of the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.

Holyoke, a city with a population of nearly 38,000, is about 90 miles west of Boston.

Known as ‘The Paper City,’ Holyoke at one time produced about four-fifths of the writing paper in the US. It is also home to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Wednesday’s shooting came just hours after Holyoke police held a press conference to highlight the alarming number of shootings in the city.

The department in March installed ShotSpotter, an acoustic detection grid that can report the sound of gunshots, in strategic locations around the town.

Police said in the past six months, the system has detected 113 incidents involving gunfire, 72 of which happened near a playground and 27 near a school.

Many of those ShotSpotter activations were not reported by 911 callers, police said.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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