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Couple of Pakistani descent shot in US

August 17, 2011

The couple married six years ago in Boonton, a suburb about 30 miles from New York City that has a large Pakistani-American population. -AP File Photo

BOONTON: A young couple of Pakistani descent was fired on while walking their son in a stroller on a quiet street in New Jersey. The woman died, and her husband, a Harvard Ph.D. student, was wounded.

Authorities said Wednesday that the incident on Tuesday night was not random. The 3-year-old child was not injured.

Nazish Noorani and her husband, Kashif Pervaiz, were walking the few blocks from her sister's home to her father's house in this small suburban town when gunfire erupted on a dark street, authorities said.

Noorani was killed and Pervaiz was shot four times, police said. He told authorities there were three attackers, according to Pervaiz's childhood friend, Hyder Khan.

Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said Wednesday the shooting ''appears to be target-specific'' and that there was no danger to the general public. He declined to provide any more details, saying it could compromise the investigation.

Pervaiz was alert and talking when he was taken to the hospital, family members said. The couple's other child was at home at the time of the shooting.

Pervaiz graduated with honors from Columbia University and is studying for his doctoral degree in architecture and engineering at Harvard, family members said.

Noorani was a native of Karachi, Pakistan, while Pervaiz was originally from Brooklyn, the family said. The couple married six years ago in Boonton, a suburb about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from New York City that has a large Pakistani-American population.

Noorani's older brother, Kaleem, asked that anyone with information about the attack contact police. The shooting occurred in a quiet, hilly neighborhood of tidy single-family homes.

Around midday Wednesday, a detective knelt in the doorway of Noorani's father's house and spoke to a small child. Pervaiz's father, Shafiq Hassan, later left the house with one of the children and drove off in an SUV.

When asked if he had spoken to his son, he said, ''He's OK. He's in surgery.''

Noorani was wearing traditional Pakistani clothing at the time of the shooting, but family members and police said they did not believe it was a bias crime.

Waj Khan, a cousin of Noorani, said in the 15 years he's lived in Boonton, he has never experienced any ethnic bias.

''There are a lot of Muslims here,'' Khan said. ''I've never had anything happen to me. This is just shocking. It's like it isn't reality.''

The husband's brother, Mansoor Hassan, of Brooklyn, told The Associated Press that the family was waiting for answers, and that he didn't believe there were any witnesses.

''At nighttime, it's a very dark way, and they don't have any lights'' on the street, Hassan said. Hassan said the couple's children are with their grandparents and other family members.