HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Dozens of people gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Mission Falls Apartments, where a 4-year-old girl was killed earlier this week.
Ava Castillo was with her 10-year-old sister, Betizda, and her mother, Diana Gomez, when they were ambushed by robbers Monday night.
“We were getting the groceries. The three guys - one had a gun and two of them tried to take my mom’s car, so we were scared,” Betizda said at the vigil Saturday night.
The 10-year-old described how the men tried to take her mother’s purse, then one of them opened fire. The mother reportedly tried to shield her children, but all three were shot.
Ava was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A bullet grazed the older child’s stomach, so she was treated and released. The girls’ mother remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital.
Although the suspects are still at large, deputies recovered a vehicle that may be tied to the crime Saturday morning.
The vehicle is a black 4-door Honda Accord with license plate GBV0987. It was found on Cypress Island street. Investigators said it was taken in a reported carjacking the same night of the shooting.
“I’m just hoping there’s some evidence in there. Something with their name, ID, DNA, fingerprints, or something,” said Julie Gomez, Diana’s sister.
Family, friends, and neighbors are praying for justice.
They say they will never forget little Ava’s name and story.
“This particular time, I felt like God let this happen on my watch. I’m not saying he’s responsible, but I’m here. I’m his servant, and I refuse to close my door and say business as usual. No. I can’t do that,” said Sharon Williams, a neighbor.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division at 713-274-9100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS(8477). Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging or arrest of the suspect(s).