A 6-year-old girl was shot and killed on Mother’s Day when an argument at a car club event led to a barrage of gunfire, Texas police say.
Saryah Perez was sitting in the backseat of a vehicle at the San Antonio gathering Sunday when one of the bullets struck her upper torso, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Monday afternoon. Saryah died at a local hospital.
Police on Monday identified 23-year-old Andrew Ray Elizondo as the suspect in the shooting. He faces a capital murder charge.
“It’s a random act by a reckless, heartless individual who could not have cared less where those bullets wounded up,” McManus said Monday when announcing the arrest.
Elizondo was an acquaintance of Saryah’s mother but the shooting was not a domestic violence-related incident, according to the police chief. It’s unclear what circumstances behind the argument led to the shooting.
Saryah’s mother, Kassandra Mendoza, was struck by shrapnel during the shooting, McManus said. When she went to ask for help, she discovered her daughter was shot, the San Antonio Express-News reported
McManus attended a vigil Monday night for Saryah and was seen in footage from WOAI consoling the girl’s family. The vigil was held at a convenience store parking lot where the shooting took place.
“She took her last breath in my arms,” Mendoza said, according to WOAI. “Stop using guns, they took my baby because of a gun, put them down.”
Signs people held at the vigil included phrases “Stop the violence” and “Put the guns down, don’t be a coward,” the Express-News reported.
Mendoza said she will never forgive Elizondo for the shooting, KSAT reported. She described her daughter as a girl who loved everyone.
“They did this,” Mendoza said at the vigil, according to KSAT. “They took her from me! Why? She wasn’t doing anything wrong! She was enjoying herself!”