The sister of the 27-year-old mother who was shot while unloading groceries with her kids on Monday night is hoping and praying that investigators are closer to catching the thugs responsible.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office has been tight-lipped about their investigation.
KHOU 11 News has learned that Diana Gomez was shot seven times during the violent ambush at the Mission Falls Apartments.
Sister Julie Gomez said Diana “did not resist” when the attackers tried to yank her purse away, contrary to preliminary reports from authorities.
“They ran up on her. There were three men. They tried to steal her vehicle. Once they couldn’t start the vehicle they went for the purse,” Julie Gomez explained. “The shooter was wearing a rag or mask. He just started shooting when he couldn’t get the purse off her.”
According to Julie Gomez, Diana’s purse was around her shoulder and got stuck.
She said Diana did everything in her power to protect her children.
“She saw the gun and tried to put the kids behind her,” Julie Gomez said. “My sister is at a loss for words. She’s in shock. She’s in disbelief.”
Relatives said Diana asked where her daughters were as soon as she woke up in her hospital bed.
Her little angel, 4-year-old Ava Castillo, died shortly after being shot in the head.
Betzida Castillo, 10, was hospitalized following the shooting but has since been released.
Neighbors believe the only circumstance separating them from this family is timing.
A number of residents told KHOU 11 that they have felt like “sitting ducks” for months at the complex in north Harris County.
“The gates constantly open. When I get home, everything out here is dark, pitch black, no lights,” said resident Talya Greer. “I haven’t even been here a year, and my vehicle has been stolen off the property twice. The cameras are never working. Nobody can ever show me anything when I have sheriffs who are willing to work with me.”
Neighbors said the biggest issue they’ve had is with a broken gate that’s been left open for months, allowing anyone to come and go as they please.
The complex has hired 24-hour security in the wake of the attempted robbery that killed Ava Castillo.
Security guards were checking on every driver entering the premises on Wednesday and taking photographs of license plates.
“Now we have security. Now the gates are being locked. It’s beyond ironic and ridiculous. It’s sad that it took her to die for all this stuff to change,” said neighbor Rowana Johnson.
KHOU 11 News brought all of their concerns to the complex, but property management would not comment.
“They need security out there if they’re going to have that gate open,” Julie Gomez said.
Julie Gomez said her sister faces a long road to recovery.
She said doctors have removed the breathing tube, and Diana is now able to speak.
It’s unclear how long she could remain hospitalized.
A GoFundMe has been created for Diana Gomez and her family.
(© 2016 KHOU)