Cops Shoot Woman After Bizarre Crime Spree Involving PTA Meeting Attack, Home Break-in: Police, Sources

A woman who choked her former best friend's new best friend at a PTA meeting Saturday night was shot by police after a series of strange events Sunday, authorities say

What to Know

  • The woman was arrested for punching her ex-best friend's new best friend at a PTA meeting on Saturday night, sources say
  • On Sunday afternoon, she fired a gun outside her mother-in-law's home before breaking into her former best friend's home with a brick
  • The woman was shot and injured by police after refusing to drop a pistol during a traffic stop; no one else was hurt

A Staten Island woman’s crime spree through the borough ended with NYPD officers shooting and injuring her during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon, police said.

A strange series of events led up to the police-involved shooting in the Sunnyside neighborhood, according to police.

It all started Saturday night when the woman allegedly choked her former best friend’s new best friend at a PTA meeting at Academy of St. Dorothy in Grasmere. 

Law enforcement sources say she was arrested for criminal obstruction of breathing after the PTA incident.

But the madness continued Sunday afternoon, sources say, when the woman drove to her mother-in-law’s house on Nugent Avenue in the Midland Beach neighborhood and began firing a starter pistol at the home. (Starter pistols, known for their use in athletic races, don’t fire bullets).

NBC New York
Police say the woman used a brick to break into this house -- the home of her former best friend -- on Sunnyside Terrace shortly before the police-involved shooting.

The woman and a man got into a black GMC SUV and were eventually pulled over by police. Officers detained the man for further questioning, but the woman managed to take off in the SUV, according to sources.

From there, she went to her former best friend’s house on Sunnyside Terrace in Sunnyside and used a brick to break into the home, the sources said.

The former best friend wasn’t home at the time, but her son was, according to the sources, who said the woman took the son's phone.

The son managed to escape to a neighboring home belonging to a retired cop, where he called police. The son also called his mother and warned her not to come home because her former best friend was inside the house with a gun, the sources said.

When police arrived, the woman took off in the SUV. She was eventually pulled over not far away at Highland and Howard avenues in the Grymes Hill neighborhood.

During the traffic stop, the woman took out the gun, police said, and ignored the officers' demands to drop it.

Two officers fired five rounds at the woman, hitting her once in her shoulder, according to police, who said they don’t believe she fired at the officers during the encounter.

The lights on the Empire State Building went dim and sparkled Saturday night to recognize Earth Hour, an annual event in which people around the world turn off their lights to address environmental issues like climate change. Meanwhile, the spire of One World Trade Center was lit orange to honor March For Our Lives.

Neighbors described hearing gunshots and yelling. "You heard her screaming, 'You shot me! I'm shot!'" Roland Molina said.

The woman was taken in serious condition to Richmond University Medical Center and was in stable condition by late Sunday afternoon.

At a press conference, Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison identified the suspect as 41-year-old Lori Gjenashaj. She has no prior arrests, Harrison said. It's unclear if she has an attorney.

Police say they charged Gjenashaj with burglary,  acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17, menacing, aggravated harassment and criminal mischief.

Police said they recovered the starter pistol at the scene, where detectives continued to investigate Sunday evening on a street covered in crime tape.

The shooting comes less than 24 hours after police say a knife-wielding man was shot by officers as he charged them inside a Whole Foods in Harlem Saturday night.

In Photos: 'March For Our Lives' Rally Takes Over Manhattan

Contact Us