BRONX, NY – Two Bronx children were awakened Christmas morning by a gunshot that left their mom bleeding by the tree in their living room — where cops said their dad opened fire in a rage because she was planning to leave him.
The kids were asleep in their beds upstairs when the holiday horror unfolded shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, as Rafael Herrera, 37, allegedly shot his wife of 11 years.
The victim — identified by relatives as Yadira Perea Saavedra, 27 — was hit by a single bullet that went in and out an arm before lodging in her neck, cops said.
She was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center, where she was listed in stable condition and still undergoing emergency surgery Friday evening.
Meanwhile, a manhunt was under way for Herrera, who cops said hopped in a car and drove off after the attack.
He was last seen wearing a blue sweat shirt and jeans, and was believed to be armed.
Saavedra’s kin said the Yuletide violence followed her recent decision to end her troubled marriage.
“A couple of weeks ago she said she wanted a divorce. He said OK. I don’t understand what happened. He changed,” said her brother, Sergio Saavedra, 36.
“My sister told me he said, ‘I’m not giving you a divorce. You leave me, I’m going to kill you.’ ”
“I told her, ‘He’s crazy.’ But I never thought he would do this,” he added.
Sergio, who lives above his sister’s apartment in the two-family house at 967 East 220th St., said he was at work when his wife heard the commotion downstairs.
She immediately ran downstairs with her two kids and Herrera and Yadira’s children, Brian 10, and Soriyah, 8.
“She found my sister on the floor and my brother-in-law was gone,” Sergio said.
The shooting followed a Christmas Eve party in the couple’s apartment that lasted until about 2 a.m.