A mom of three from California was killed by a stray bullet fired during a suspected gang-related shooting targeting a pair of teens, according to police.
Maria Del Refugio Mora, 36, was exiting a convenience store on her way to meet her family in Santa Ana on Dec. 4 when she was struck by a bullet fired by gunmen who emerged from a passing car.
Police responded to the 1400 block of South Cypress Street at around 4:30 p.m. and found Mora suffering from a gunshot wound to her upper body in a parking lot.
Mora was treated at the scene and then taken to a local hospital in critical condition. She succumbed to her injuries Friday.
According to cops, a preliminary investigation has determined that two teenage boys were shot at by the occupants of a white sedan, as seen in surveillance video released over the weekend.
Seeking to get away from the gunmen, the teens ran into the parking lot on South Cypress Street, where Mora — “an innocent bystander” — was shot. The two boys escaped unharmed.
“The circumstances surrounding this shooting are currently being investigated, however detectives believe the motive could be gang related,” police wrote in a statement.
Investigators said Mora was walking out of a store after buying sodas as her husband and one of their children were exiting a nearby pizzeria, reported the station KTLA. The family were getting lunch before heading to Mass.
The husband said during a press conference that he saw his wife smile at him and then a moment later heard her scream. The couple’s 3-year-old son was present at the time of the shooting.
“She was the best wife and the best mother,” the heartbroken man said while holding his youngest child in his arms.
According to the description of a GoFundMe campaign started by Mora’s cousin, the young mom died five days after the shooting without ever getting to say goodbye to her children, between the ages 3 and 15.
Police are now appealing to the public for help with identifying the suspects involved in the deadly shooting