STAMFORD, Conn. — A friend was standing just feet from Maxine Gooden when she suddenly heard gunshots ring out and saw Gooden fall slowly to the pavement of the parking lot at Lione Park in Stamford on Monday night.
"She dropped, we heard shots and she dropped," Annette Rose said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. "I thought she was ducking. That's a Jamaican thing — when we hear shots, we duck."
Three men have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting, police said.
It was a warm evening Monday and many people had gathered in the parking lot, said Rose, who like Gooden is originally from Jamaica.
Gooden, 43, had prepared Jamaican food for sale and in some cases gave it away to people who couldn't afford to pay, Rose said. There was music, laughter, some dancing and lots of talk while a soccer game was played on the park's field, she said.
After the shots were fired, the scene was chaotic, Rose said. Many were in disbelief as Gooden's daughter and others rushed to revive her. Two witnesses chased after the shooters to get the vehicle's license plate number to give to police.
"Her daughter turned her over to give her CPR," Rose said. "And I saw the two holes in her side and saw she really got shot.
"It was crazy because I'm right there and I was speechless," Rose said.
Rose said she called 911 from a phone provided by Gooden's daughter. She complained that the person on the other end of the line kept asking questions.
"That lady was questioning me for five minutes or more," she said.
Rose, 45, who said she never saw the shooters, said she would never return to Lione Park after sunset.
"Stuff happened over here, but nothing like this," she said.
Police called the park safe. The last killing in the area was the 2011 stabbing death of Romario "Mario" Marchant, 16, a reggae dancer from the Bronx, N.Y., after a confrontation in the park, police said.
Gooden's death has left a void in the lives of many, including her friends and family members.
"It hurts because she has people who love her," Rose said.
Three arrests have been made: Jhonel Telemin, 21, was charged with first-degree murder, and Deshawn Hayes, 24, and Morris Joel Moore Jr., 23, were charged with conspiracy to murder, police said. It appears that Gooden was targeted in the shooting, police said.
Read more about the arrests of the three suspects here at the Daily Voice.
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