Howard County police are urging anyone with information about the July 31 shooting of a pregnant woman in Columbia, which resulted in her death and the death of her baby, to contact investigators. Detectives have increased the reward to up to $20,000.

Rabiah Ahmad, 30, was 28 weeks pregnant when she was shot while inside a residence in the 6600 block of Dovecote Drive. She later died at the hospital. Doctors delivered her baby girl, Ahja, who remained in critical condition until she died Aug. 5.

“There are no words to express the magnitude of sorrow for the loss of these two innocent lives,” said Police Chief Lisa Myers. “I am committed to devoting every possible resource to find the person or people who committed this heinous act.”

At approximately 11 p.m. on July 31, police responded to the Dovecote address, where numerous people reside, for a report of several gunshots. Police discovered that multiple bullets had been fired into the house from the outside. Ahmad, who had recently moved to Maryland and had been staying at the residence for the last few months, was struck once; no one else was injured.

Detectives do not believe that Ahmad was targeted in this incident and are working to determine the motive in the shooting. Investigators have been following up on tips and possible leads in the case, but so far none has led to a suspect.

“We have absolutely no reason to believe Rabiah was targeted as the intended victim,” Chief Myers said. “But someone out there was firing at this house for a different reason, and we want to find that person. We believe there are people in this community who may be able to help us answer that question.”

Investigators believe that at this stage of the investigation, any small piece of information could help put together critical details in the case. They have increased the reward and are urging anyone with information to contact police at 410-313-STOP or HCPDCrimeTips@howardcountymd.gov. Callers can remain anonymous.

Once a suspect or suspects are identified, police will consult with the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine any and all applicable charges, as is standard practice.

While there is no evidence at this stage of the investigation indicating that Ahmad was targeted or that the crime was racially-motivated, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is providing support to her family, who is Muslim, by offering an additional reward: CAIR news release.

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Scott E