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 December 4 when she was hit by a bullet fired by gunmen who emerged from a passing car.
At about 4:30 p.m., police responded to the 1400 block of South Cypress Street and discovered Mora in a parking lot with a gunshot wound to her upper body.
Mora was treated at the scene before being taken to a local hospital in critical condition. She died as a result of her injuries on 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.
During a press conference, the husband stated that he saw his wife smile at him and then heard her scream. At the time of the shooting, the couple’s 3-year-old son was present.
“She was the best wife and mother,” the bereaved father said as he held his youngest child in his arms.