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Gunman Shoots Christmas Shopper In Mall Incident

December 2, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ A gunman shot a Christmas shopper when her sister refused to give up her purse, then exchanged fire with a retired policeman and commandeered a car with a passenger inside, police said.

The wounded woman, Cynthia Bottoms, 29, of Brooklyn, was in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Staten Island Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Katherine Edwin.

Lou Cafiero, an Emergency Medical Service spokesman, said Ms. Bottoms was shot in the abdomen.

She was shot as she came to the aid of her sister, Lorene, 26, who refused to surrender her purse to a mugger who approached the women as they left Macy’s department store at the Staten Island Mall Sunday, police said.

After trading shots with retired detective Anthony Della Ventura, the gunman ran off and stole a car with an elderly woman, Minnie Tichman, inside, police said. She was later released unharmed and the car crashed into a pole.

Sgt. Richard Bracken said Jose Ortiz, 19, was arrested and charged with one count of attempted murder, three counts of robbery, unlawful imprisonment, reckless endangerment, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

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