Police looking for gunman who fatally shot woman near southwest Houston elementary school

The victim fled from Honduras recently to try to escape violent gang activity
January 22, 2014 2:27:31 PM PST
A young mother was murdered on her way to pick up her child from school. Now her family is left to cope with the tragedy as police look for her killer.

The murder happened Tuesday just feet away from her child's school and in view of other children and parents.

Cell phone video taken by a neighbor showed the first officers arriving at the scene Tuesday afternoon, rushing to help a woman who had been shot on the sidewalk and left for dead.

Police say Yoli Perez, 24, was walking to Emerson Elementary School to pick up her 7-year-old daughter.

"We were walking home yesterday as we saw it. My son, well, he was a little frightened," said parent Jessica Machado.

Parents dropping off their kids at school Wednesday morning recalled hearing four gunshots, and a short time later they heard police cars and an ambulance.

"I knew it was something bad at that point," said parent Cloey Orphey.

"My wife just told them that, because they saw the ambulance and the cops come by and she just told them that somebody got hurt, and hopefully they'll be alright," said parent Nathaniel Orphey.

Perez was pronounced dead at the scene. Her family says she had recently moved here from Honduras to escape violent gang activity that a family member was allegedly involved in there, and had actually been shot in the same neighborhood in December.

Parents struggle to make sense of it all.

"A lot of moms walk that way over here, and what was the reason? We don't know," said concerned parent Mayra Martinez.

"I pray for the little girl and her family, because it's very sad. I've lost my mom and my dad and I was older. But at seven, I couldn't imagine," said Cloey Orphey.

HISD released the following statement: "We are sad to report that an Emerson Elementary School parent was killed yesterday just a couple of blocks away from our campus during afternoon dismissal. School officials worked with the Houston Police Department to keep everyone safe and away from the area. However, some students may have inadvertently seen the crime scene as they were headed home. As such, additional counselors were on campus today to provide support to students and staff and answer any questions they might have. HISD Police also is providing additional patrols in the area. This is a sad time for the Emerson community, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the deceased. As we learn more from the Houston Police Department, we will keep the Emerson Elementary School community informed."

Police have released a description of the suspect. Authorities say he looked to be in his 20s, about five feet, six inches and was seen running west from the scene.

Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

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