NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- In one second, a stray bullet changed the lives of the Ayala family when it struck Manuel Ayala in the chest as he sat outside of a Union Avenue bodega in New Rochelle.
Ayala, a Mexican national, was visiting family in New Rochelle when the bullet ended his life. A father of 12, and grandfather of 10, Ayala was well loved.
In an effort to the help the family, Habitat of Westchester is raising money to help with expenses, including to fly his body home to Mexico for burial. One hundred percent of the money raised will go to the Ayala family. To date they have raised $1,000, said Jim Killoran, executive director of Habitat of Westchester.
“Anytime there is a loss in our city, and county, we all should respond. We are collecting money, with Habitats headquarters, local restaurants and community people are helping," said Killoran. "We invite everyone to help so we can give a check for the family during this most difficult time…For the family of a great 'abuelo,' grandfather and padre..father. There go we but for the grace of God."
Collection boxes can be found at the Habitat Restore, the Mexican Corner Restaurant, La Flora and others, Killoran said.
According to police, Ayala was probably not the intended target, and instead the victim of a “wild bullet.” There was reportedly one shooter, who fired two shots from across Third Street toward a group of people on the corner outside Lachiquita Karina.
Calling hours have been scheduled for Ayala between 4 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the New Rochelle Funeral Home on Fourth Street, with a mass scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 12, at St. Joseph's Church.
Over the weekend, Ayala's body will be flown back to Mexico for burial.