ARTESIA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 25-year-old pregnant woman was shot to death in Artesia as she was headed to a birthday party with her dad, and her distraught family believes this was not a random act.
The shooting happened at around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, at the intersection of Pioneer and Artesia boulevards.
Marissa Perez, who was expecting a child in June, was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle as her father was driving to pick up a birthday cake.
According to Perez's mother, Sandra Tolentino, who spoke with Eyewitness News on Monday, a driver pulled up next to the father and daughter and began shooting. Perez was shot several times, including once in the head, her mother said.
"She was 25. She was about to be a mother in five more months. She was so happy," said Tolentino, who told ABC7 the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said investigators do not believe this was a random act.
"She always cared for so many people. Her heart was literally on her sleeve every day."
As the search for the shooter continues, a growing memorial filled with flowers and heartfelt messages now sits at the intersection of the shooting.
Tolentino and her family, who described Perez as "the most loyal, loving, outgoing, and strongest person," are left grieving, trying to make sense of such tragedy that occurred just days before the New Year.
"She should have never been taken from us that way," said Tolentino. "She still had such a life ahead of her and it kills me that we won't be able to have that next chapter. Don't hold grudges and just love, love so hard because you just never know when will be the last time to say goodbye."
The sheriff's department has not released a description of the suspect or suspects.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the LASD homicide bureau at 323-890-5500.
Meanwhile, the family of Perez has created a GoFundMe to collect donations during their time of need.
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