A 23-year-old preschool teacher has died in the hospital just days after she was wounded in a shooting on Interstate 95 in Broward County while on her way home from vacation.
Ana Estevez was a “beautiful soul” who was “warm-hearted, kind, full of love,” Paula Ulerio wrote in a GoFundMe page created Wednesday to help the family with medical and funeral costs.
Estevez worked at the Nurtury Montessori School in Fort Lauderdale, according to WPLG-Local 10. She was also a student at Florida Atlantic University and wanted to teach students with disabilities, according to the GoFundMe, which has already raised more than $31,000.
“Every time she talked about her students, her face would always light up,” Ulerio wrote in the post.
The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the southbound lanes of I-95 between Sunrise and Broward boulevards, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies say two people — who loved ones have identified as Estevez and her boyfriend — in a Nissan Sentra were sideswiped by a man in a newer model white BMW i8. There was an argument and then he shot them, deputies said.
The couple were on their way home after spending Thanksgiving in North Carolina, according to the GoFundMe page.
Investigators later learned that a girl in a separate vehicle was also wounded in a shooting that occurred on I-95 between Atlantic Boulevard and Sample Road. All three were taken to the hospital. Estevez’s wounds were fatal. She died at the hospital Thursday morning, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies said the other two victims had non-life-threatening injuries.
“I just hope they catch the guy so he doesn’t do this to anyone else’s family. I’m just speechless. It’s like we’re in a nightmare and we just can’t wake up from it,” her sister Mary Estevez told WTVJ-NBC 6.
Loved ones, including families of former students, have left messages on the GoFundMe page, as well as on Facebook, describing Estevez as “an angel” and a “bright soul” who loved her students. They are also asking people to help detectives find the gunman who killed her.
Detectives have released a sketch of the man they believe is responsible for the shootings and said his car may have damage to the side view mirror on the passenger side. They hope someone will recognize him.
Anyone with information that can help with the investigation is asked to call Violent Crimes Detective Kristina Luna at 954-321-4356. You can also call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477), online at browardcrimestoppers.org, or dial **TIPS (8477) from any cellphone in the United States. You can stay anonymous.