Tenant at Pelham Parkway Houses views makeshift memorial outside building where 88-year-old grandmother Evelyn Shapiro was found Saturday, bludgeoned to death in her apartment.
Photo by Bob Kappstatter

The 88-year-old grandmother slain in her Pelham Parkway Houses apartment last week was caught on videotape shortly before she was bludgeoned to death.

Unfortunately, it was leaving a local supermarket and not at the housing project, which has no closed circuit security.

Evelyn Shapiro, who neighbors said was fond of wearing “an insane amount of jewelry” when she went out, had just returned from a Stop&Shop supermarket in Co-op City, a police source said. Detectives tracing Shapiro’s final movements caught her on videotape leaving the store to load her 2007 Toyota Camry.

“Several of the grocery bags were still in her car, ” said a police source, leading cops toward one theory that her attacker offered to help carry the groceries into her locked building at 2455 Williamsbridge Road, across from a small shopping strip near Mace Avenue.

“It’s a strong bet it was some local mutt that killed her,” said another police source.

Shapiro was found laying face down in a hallway between the bedroom and kitchen. She was wearing a tanktop and slacks, with groceries scattered on the floor around her.

A source said it appears she was attacked just as she entered her apartment, her assailant hitting her so hard it fractured her skull.

“She had a hole over her left eye, and we thought at first she’d been shot,” they said. “There were spilled blueberries, rye bread and a bloody towel on the floor just inside the door, so it looks like she was attacked immediately.

The source said her killer may have used the towel to wipe her blood off his hands.

Her assailant ransacked the apartment, it’s peach-colored walls lined with paintings, and ceramic tchochkes stacked on tables and shelves.

Her daughter and grandson found Shapiro’s body around 1 p.m., Saturday, June 9.

“It’s horrible. Now I’m nervous,” said Michael Campbell, 61, who’s lived across the hall from Shapiro for 27 years. “There’ve been some crimes around here, but nothing like this.”

He recalled Shapiro as “very happy, always smiling a lot. She always said hello.”

Meanwhile, police have posted a $12,000 reward for information, asking the public to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Detectives are canvassing the Pelham Parkway neighborhood, scouring arrest and parole records for anyone living or working among the project’s large elderly population, canvassing pawn and jewelry shops, and hoping for possible fingerprint or DNA hits if Shapiro put up any struggle with her attacker.

“There’s been no real robbery patterns in the buildings there recently,” said a police source, adding that while the city housing project once held a fair share of senior citizens, “it’s a real mix now.”

Meanwhile, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called Shapiro’s killer a “savage” and a “monster,” while describing Shapiro as “a well-known pillar of the community – a woman who cared for the well-being of the neighborhood and had spent the better part of her life at the Pelham Parkway Houses. That she met so violent an end is disgusting.”

The surrounding 49th Precinct has a relatively low crime rate, with four murders so far through June 10, compared to one last year. Robberies are up almost 30%, with 147 so far this year over 138 last year.

More from Around NYC