The daylight assassin who shot her ex-lover, a mother-of-two, dead in the street on Wednesday should be treated as the victim of ‘intergenerational trauma’ who ‘deserves compassion’, according to a Democratic city council candidate.
Latisha Bell, 38, is in custody now for the murder of her 52-year-old girlfriend Nichelle Thomas.
On Wednesday, she walked up to her in the street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and shot her in the back of the head then, hours later, handed herself in to police.
Her sister has since revealed that she has mental health problems and that the pair were together for 20 years before splitting three years ago. It’s unclear where Latisha was able to get a gun; New York is a red flag law state which prevents people with a documented history of mental illness from buying firearms.
Her sister told DailyMail.com that Nichelle did something to make Latisha snap, but wouldn’t say what it was. That was what prompted her to commit murder suddenly.
But on Thursday, Brandon West, the Democratic candidate for District 39 (Park Slope-Gowanus) said that it was Latisha who was the victim and claimed on Twitter: ‘People don’t just wake up one day and choose to commit homicide.’
He went on to say Latisha had been let down by the system.
‘We can only progress if we recognize that even murderers and abusers are victims, as they’re usually suffering at the hands of complex emotional and intergenerational trauma which compels them to commit awful acts. We should uplift compassion and understanding above all else.
‘People grow up in hostile and toxic environments, experience abuse and poverty and receive minimal help or education from professionals and the government.
‘This can lead to them having undiagnosed, unsupported mental and material issues that end up perpetuating violence,’ he said.
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Brandon West, the Democratic candidate for District 39 (Park Slope-Gowanus) said that it was Latisha Bell who was the victim and claimed on Twitter: ‘People don’t just wake up one day and choose to commit homicide.’ Latisha is shown, right, shooting dead Nichelle Thomas, on Wednesday. Latisha’s sister told DailyMail.com that something happened recently to make her snap and kill the 52-year-old
Brandon West said in a series of tweets on Friday that the shooter was a victim
‘If we work toward catching these problems earlier, we’ll see a substantial decline in all forms of person-to-person violence. Conversely, having beat cops on every corner of the city is not only impractical, but it won’t solve this problem, and it’ll exacerbate others,’ she said.
Mother-of-two Nichelle Thomas, 52, was murdered in the street
He then, in his six of eight tweets, said: ‘In that vein, I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Nichelle Thomas. Her death is a tragedy for Park Slope.
‘Additionally, I hope that by providing assistance to those in pain, we can prevent this type of violence in the future.’
Nichelle had two adult children. She was a beloved member of her church, and had lived in her apartment in Park Slope for 20 years, including some of the time with Latisha.
After her arraignment on Thursday, Latisha’s sister told DailyMail.com: ‘Something happened that I don’t want to discuss – something really did happen that was traumatizing to my sister – she just couldn’t deal with it anymore.
‘She realized that she was using her for her own good. She felt she couldn’t take it.
‘Enough is enough,’ she said.
She added that her sister had been dealing with mental health problems.
The scene of the shooting on St Marks Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on Thursday
‘My sister’s been dealing with mental issues for a very long time. The other party was aware – I’m so sorry she had to go through this. I’m sorry both of them had to go through this.
‘My sister doesn’t deserve this. She tried to leave her alone but the woman kept coming back to her.’
Afterwards, Eric Adams – one of the mayoral candidates in the upcoming November election, made an appearance outside the deli where the shooting happened to advocate gun reform.
Bell walked up to Thomas and put a gun to the back of her head then pulled the trigger and fled the scene on Wednesday at 1pm.
Bell later handed herself in to police. She walked into a police station and told the cop on duty: ‘I am turning myself in for the homicide.
‘The gun is inside the bag. I need to talk to the homicide detective. I did the shooting.’
She is being held without bail on murder and weapons charges.
Latisha’s sister told DailyMail.com on Thursday that the pair had a history of domestic disputes and violence. She did not want to be named