A 36-year-old mother of three was reportedly killed by a stray bullet in a gang-related shooting, leading to the arrest of two people.
Police responded to a parking lot on South Main Street on Sunday, December 4, at around 4:27 p.m., where they discovered the victim suffering from a gunshot wound to her upper torso, according to a press release from the Santa Ana Police Department (2022). The victim was reportedly taken to a hospital in critical condition and later identified as Maria Del Refugio.
Police reported that Refugio passed away from her wounds in the hospital on Friday, December 9, several days later.
Further investigation apparently revealed that two individuals in a white sedan fired shots at two children. Gunshots allegedly continued as the intended victims fled into the parking lot. Police claim that although Refugio was hit, the children were unharmed and were only “innocent bystanders.”
According to the report published by True Crime Daily (2022), the victim is said to have been eating at a pizzeria with her family just before the fatal shooting before going to mass.
The suspects, Mark Remmers, 19 years old, and Brooke De La Cruz, 24 years old, were reportedly identified by investigators on December 15 through the white sedan by analyzing surveillance, interviews, and investigative resources.
According to Chief David Valentin of Santa Ana Police, the collateral killing of an innocent bystander, a mother of three, by a gang-related shooting should never happen in their communities, especially during the holiday season.
The two were arrested through the collaborative efforts of our Homicide Unit, Major Enforcement Team, VICE Unit, and Career Criminal Unit.