One day after a 16-year-old Antioch girl was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Hayward, family and friends gathered for a candlelight vigil for the teen in her hometown.
Investigators say Fremont police officers working an undercover operation Tuesday fired shots into a vehicle the girl was riding in when the driver, a robbery suspect, accelerated toward officers. One of those shots killed Elena Mondragon.
Fremont police said the stolen BMW involved had been used in four armed robberies in Fremont last week, and the suspects are wanted in connection with at least 12 robberies spanning three counties -- Alameda, Santa Clara and San Joaquin.
On Wednesday night, Mondragon's mother was sobbing during the vigil for her daughter, whom everyone called "Ebbie."
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"The Ebbie I know is loving, kind and wouldn't put herself in danger," Michele Mondragon said.
While friends and family grieved, they also sought answers. Seventeen-year-old Aireanna Cabrera said she was in the car with Ebbie when an unmarked car drove up, and the doors opened.
"I thought it was a regular car; I thought someone was shooting at us," Cabrera said.
She said driver, the man police were still looking for, hit one of the doors as he tried to get around the car, and then shots rang out.
"I heard gunshots," Cabrera said. "I didn't think anyone was shot until my cousin started screaming."
Hayward police said the Fremont officers, who were not uniformed officers, fired when the driver drove his car at them. Two of the officers were injured.
Ebbie's grandmother said police made a mistake.
"They took my baby's life," she said. "They could tell the difference between that guy and her; no right to do that."
Ebbie's uncle said the girl didn't want to be in Hayward. She had called family, asking to be picked up.
"From what her sisters and friends tell me, Ebbie wanted to come home," Miguel Minjares said.
Police are still searching for the driver of the car.