Two arrested in connection with stray-bullet shooting of 11-month-old baby girl

Authorities have apprehended two individuals involved in a stray-bullet shooting incident that left an 11-month-old girl injured in the Bronx last year. The suspects, Ahmed Altorei, 36, and Samuel Bautista, 30, allegedly opened fire at a rival drug dealer on January 19, 2022, inadvertently striking Catherine Ortiz in the face as she sat in a parked car with her mother, Miraida Gomez. The child’s mother expressed relief upon learning of the arrests, although she acknowledged that the impact of the incident would continue to affect their lives.

Ahmed Altorei and Samuel Bautista were taken into custody by federal authorities for their alleged involvement in the stray-bullet shooting that injured Catherine Ortiz. Miraida Gomez, the mother of three girls, expressed her elation upon hearing the news and revealed that she was on her way to court to witness the arraignment of the accused assailants. While relieved, Gomez acknowledged that the incident would forever shape their lives.

Although the baby survived the shooting, she had to undergo brain surgery to address the injury. Miraida Gomez, who was with her daughter in the car at the time, fortunately remained unharmed. The police had released a photo of the suspect’s car shortly after the shooting, but it took over a year for authorities to locate the alleged gunman.

Ahmed Altorei and Samuel Bautista, both residents of the Bronx, are facing charges related to drug distribution and firearm possession as part of a drug trafficking ring operating in the Grand Concourse and East 198th Street area. Prosecutors claim that the duo sold cocaine and crack cocaine between May 2018 and August 2023. On the day of the shooting, they became involved in a street shooting attempt targeting a rival drug dealer, inadvertently injuring the innocent baby girl.

Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams expressed his sympathy for the emotional and physical trauma endured by Catherine Ortiz and her family. The young girl underwent three surgeries, including the removal of part of her brain and the placement of a titanium plate in her skull. Despite initial predictions that she would never walk or talk, Ortiz has made remarkable progress. She is now able to speak, sing songs, and dance.