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N.Y. police make arrest in tot’s stray-bullet killing

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YONKERS, N.Y. — A few days short of her second birthday, Amy Guzman was sitting on her parents' bed between her parents, clutching a stuffed Winnie the Pooh and watching a Pooh video.

Then the mirrored headboard seemed to explode. Amy was suddenly limp, bleeding onto her stuffed animal, mortally wounded by a ricocheting bullet fired a block away. Police say a man recklessly taking target practice fired a hunting rifle into a bustling neighborhood.

The bullet struck Amy in the head, and she died hours later.

"This baby was our angel," Albaluz Guzman said Thursday as she mourned her daughter's loss. "She was the glory of the family. She didn't deserve this, to be gone."

Kashawn Jones, 20, of Mount Vernon, was captured in Troy, N.Y., and charged with second-degree murder, Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Cola said Thursday. He said Jones fired the fatal shot; a second suspect was still being sought.

"This was a senseless, depraved act of stupidity, which resulted in the loss of an innocent life," Cola said.

Police believe the shot was fired out of an apartment window, apparently at a hardware store sign being used for target practice.

The bullet — a pointed, jacketed type designed to penetrate — crossed two streets, went through the metal hardware sign and ricocheted into the building where the Guzmans lived.

It left a half-inch hole in the outside wall of the bedroom and kept going — through the thick headboard, grazing Amy's mother and hitting the toddler in the head. The girl's parents, both 33-year-old Salvadoran immigrants, screamed in horror as the bullet tore through the room.

"We looked up at Amy and she was covered in blood," said her father, Julio Guzman. He rushed her from the building and Yonkers police sped them to the hospital, but the toddler died three hours later.

As the Guzmans prepared for today's funeral, neighbors assembled a sidewalk memorial outside their building on a steep hill about a mile and a half north of the Bronx. It consisted mostly of a dozen or so stuffed animals, including several bears and Pooh's friend, Tigger.

"These people, the Guzman family, they're beautiful people," said Salim Samarneh, who works in a grocery store across the street. "Maybe this was an accident, but it feels like a murder."

"Amy loved Winnie the Pooh," her father recalled. At Thursday's wake, a stuffed Winnie was placed in the girl's tiny casket.