Authorities responded to the scene at 5:47 a.m. and found the body. The victim's family has identified her as Lulu Benjamin, a mother of two from Rialto. Her niece, Deatra Johnson, says she does not know how her aunt ended up so far from home.
"It's just shocking," Johnson said.
Police say Benjamin had been shot to death, and she was wearing pajama bottoms when she was found.
Yanmilet Lopez, who lives in front of the alley, said she awoke to a strange noise.
"I heard my dogs barking, so I thought somebody was out there. So then, I heard two gunshots five minutes later," she said.
Lopez said she went to investigate, thinking someone had shot her dogs, and when she got to the alley, she saw the body.
San Bernardino police are investigating the murder, but say there isn't much to go on.
"No one reported hearing any arguing or vehicle speeding away from the area prior to the gunshots," said San Bernardino Police Sgt. Gary Robertson.
Benjamin's family and friends says the 48-year-old walked regularly, carrying with her at all times a Bible to read.
"Whoever did this had to be cruel and didn't know her or know anything about her. And I just want to say, that's totally, totally wrong to leave her like this," said LaTosha Johnson, the victim's friend.
Anyone with information is urged to call the San Bernardino Police Department at (909) 384-5647.