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JEEP PASSENGER DIES OF BULLET WOUNDS

A 22-year-old woman who was shot in the neck and shoulder Sunday while riding in a Jeep on Fillmore Avenue late Sunday died Thursday night in Sisters Hospital.

Angela Biles of Stevens Street died at 6:45 p.m. in the operating room, where doctors were trying to remove a bullet that had entered her neck or shoulder area and lodged in her lung, said Sisters spokesman Dennis McCarthy.

Doctors had hoped to wait for Ms. Biles' condition to stabilize before operating, but her deteriorating health called for the removal of the bullet, McCarthy said.

"They felt that they couldn't wait any longer," McCarthy said.

Ms. Biles had been paralyzed from the neck down, McCarthy said.

Ms. Biles -- a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee -- was shot twice about 10 pm. Sunday on Fillmore Avenue near the Kensington Expressway when two men got out of a car armed with semi-automatic pistols and riddled the vehicle with gunfire at a stop light.

There is no apparent reason for the attack, Assistant Chief of Detectives Gregory Simonian said today.

"Two guys got out of the car and they had ski masks on and they opened fire," Simonian said.

Marvin Hemphill, the driver of the Jeep and Ms. Biles' friend, is a law-abiding resident, as was Ms. Biles, police said.

"We talked to (Hemphill) a few times -- and quite at length -- and he insisted he had no knowledge why somebody would have taken a shot," Simonian said.

One of Ms. Biles' cousins told The Buffalo News earlier this week that relatives were also at a loss to explain why someone would shoot Ms. Biles or Hemphill. "All I know was that she was just riding with (Hemphill)," said the cousin, who asked that her name not be used. "I don't think it was meant for her."

Hemphill told police the shooting occurred after a gray sedan pulled alongside his Jeep at a stop light near 1907 Fillmore Ave. Simonian said the gray car used by the gunmen then bumped Hemphill's car, and two gunmen -- one possibly armed with an Uzi -- started shooting.

Hemphill quickly pulled his Jeep away from the scene, driving Ms. Biles to nearby Sisters Hospital.

Investigators had earlier tried to determine if the gunmen were angry at Hemphill for possibly cutting them off, but that motive was discounted, Simonian said.

"No words were exchanged, or anything like that," Simonian said the day after the shooting. "They just opened fire on them."

Hemphill said he believed the occupants of another car may have conspired with the gunmen by pulling in behind his Jeep to box it in.

But because it was dark and the shooting occurred so quickly, Hemphill had been unable to describe that vehicle or say positively that the occupants were involved.

"Because of the headlights (shining into Hemphill's car) he couldn't get a clear look," Simonian explained.

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