A pregnant California mother and her unborn baby were killed during a drive-by shooting Dec. 29 in what authorities believe was a targeted attack.
The Post Millennial reports Marissa Perez, 25, was about four months pregnant with her unborn baby; both were declared dead at the hospital a short time after the shooting.
“She was about to be a mother in five more months. She was so happy,” her mother, Sandra Tolentino, told ABC7. “I want justice for my daughter. I want justice for my grandbaby.”
On the evening of Dec. 29 in Artesia, a suburb of Los Angeles, Perez and her father were driving to a family birthday party, according to the report. Tolentino said a vehicle pulled up next to Perez and her father at an intersection and someone shot her multiple times, including once in the head. It is not clear from reports if Perez’s father also was shot.
At the hospital, doctors determined that Perez and her unborn baby both were dead, the report continues.
According to KTLA 75, investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department believe the shooter targeted Perez, but they did not mention a possible motive.
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“It wasn’t random. We know that. It was not random,” Tolentino said.
Perez’s family said she was excited about her baby and had been looking forward to learning if it was a boy or girl.
When police find Perez’s murderer, the individual also potentially could face charges for the death of her unborn child. California law recognizes unborn babies as second victims of violent crimes in some cases.
Whether Perez was targeted because she was pregnant is not clear, but homicide is one of the top causes of death among pregnant women, according to a 2021 study in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology.”
A 2014 study, “Associations Between Intimate Partner Violence and Termination of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” published in the journal “PLOS Medicine,” found that intimate partner violence, including history of rape, sexual assault, contraception sabotage and coerced decision-making, was associated with abortion.
Another study by the Elliot Institute found a high rate of coerced and forced abortions among post-abortive women, as high as 64 percent.