The lives cut short by the shooting that occurred last Wednesday in Orange, California, are those of three members of an extended Latino family and that of a worker in her real estate business Unified Homes, as identified by authorities. The alleged attacker was detained after being injured.
One of the deceased is Matthew Farias, 9, who died in the arms of her mother, Blanca Tamayo. She was seriously injured and hospitalized after being shot twice in the head.
The other victims are Luis Tovar, the business owner, Jenevieve Raygoza, the daughter he and Tamayo had together, according to the reconstruction of the Los Angeles Times newspaper, and Leticia Solis, who worked with them.
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Another son of Tamayo, Louis Tovar, told our field reporter Edgar Muñoz that the injured woman “can move, she can open her eyes, she can hear. She is very positive, it is a miracle.”
What happened left the family devastated. “It’s a very difficult time, we still can’t believe it,” Paul Tovar, Luis Tovar’s brother, told Noticias Telemundo. Now, he added, he and his family need help to overcome the pain they suffered. In his opinion, the best way to honor the victims is for everyone to show love to their loved ones. “Let them hug their relatives every day,” said the man, “and tell them that they love them very much.”
The Tovars, originally from Sonora, Mexico, came to California as children, by their own account.
The perpetrator of the massacre did not act randomly, according to authorities. The Orange Police Department assured that the suspect, identified as Aminadab Gaxiola González, 44, had “business and personal” ties to the victims.
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Gaxiola was charged on Friday with four counts of murder and three of attempted murder for shooting two officers – who were not hit by the bullets – and for seriously wounding the boy’s mother, according to authorities.
Here’s what is known about the victims so far:
Matthew Farias, 9 years old:
Matthew liked to ride his bike. He was studying third grade in the city of Santa Ana, and had a dog, according to his uncle Zef Farías told The Associated Press news agency. She normally went to daycare after school, but on Wednesday afternoon she was with her mother, Blanca Tamayo, who worked at Unified Homes.
She was the only person who survived the massacre. When the police arrived, Tamayo was carrying her dead son in her arms.
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Matthew “normally didn’t go there,” Farías said, fighting back tears. “They were only part of the collateral damage,” he added.
Luis Tovar, 50, owner of Unified Homes
Tovar started Unified Homes in 2006. He was born in Orange County. Anaheim High School students crowned him the king of prom in his senior year. He studied an MBA in Business Administration and Finance at Cal State Fullerton. He had a relationship with Tamayo and they were the parents of Jenevieve Raygoza, according to Rosie Farías, the boy’s aunt.
Jenevieve Raygoza, 28 years old
Raygoza is the daughter of Luis Tovar and Blanca Tamayo, and Matthew’s half-sister. Her and her father they shared a love for nature and passion for business. She worked for her father as a manager for 10 years. Her husband, Armando Raygoza, worked in the construction part of the business.
“We were supposed to grow old together”Raygoza told the Los Angeles Times, his voice cracking. “Luis always told us to enjoy life because we don’t know how much time we have together, but we don’t think it would be so short,” he added.
She was the mother of two boys, ages 4 and 8. A friend of his and his brother-in-law created a GoFundMe page to support Armando Raygoza with the education of their children.
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Leticia Solís Guzmán, 58 years old
Lifelong employee of the family business. At the top of Solís’ Facebook page it reads in Spanish: “I am a Leo, a warrior, great, happy, I love to dance, I love my family and happiness.”
Yolanda Torres, an acquaintance of hers who spoke to the LA Times, defined her as an “excellent person.”
The suspect, Aminadab Gaxiola González, is married to a former company employee, Aleyda Mendoza.
Noticias Telemundo spoke with her: the woman said that she never imagined that her husband could do something like what he is suspicious of. They have three children together and separated two years ago.
Gaxiola was shot and remains in a hospital in critical but stable condition. Authorities are investigating whether he was injured by police or by self-inflicted gunshots.
Gaxiola was charged with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He could not be prosecuted because he was unconscious, and the hearing was delayed to Monday, said Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
With information from reporter Edgar Muñoz of Noticias Telemundo, AP and the Los Angeles Times.