“Daddy, Daddy, Where's Mommy?” Girl Asks After Mom Killed in Apparent Oakland Road Rage Shooting

Mando Lopez can't sleep or eat.

And when his 5-year-old daughter padded out into the hallway on Monday — asking, "Daddy, Daddy, where's Mommy?" — the Oakland father of four and recent widower couldn't answer her. The only thing he could do was break down into tears.

That's because his wife, Perla Avina was shot Sunday afternoon — church day, as neighbors noted —as the couple was returning from the grocery store near their home. They had gone out about 12:30 p.m. to get ingredients for breakfast as their children, ages 1 to 14, stayed at home with Grandma.

Investigators have not yet figured out who fired bullets into Lopez's 1998 Toyota Camry as they traveled south on 98th Avenue in a rough section of the city near their home on Rossmoor Avenue, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. But she did say it was likely related to some type of road rage.

Lopez, whose full name is Luis Armando, told sister station Telemundo that everything happened so fast that he isn't sure what happened.

What he does remember is that a car tried to veer in front of him on the way back from the market, and "I guess I didn't let him go."

The seemingly random act of cruelty now has Lopez wondering how he'll continue. He said Avina, a medical receptionist originally from Los Angeles, was his life. She cooked, she cleaned, she took care of the kids, she was his partner in life, he said.

His children aren't doing all that well, either.

His 1-year-old daughter cried all night. His 10-year-old daughter couldn't sleep at home; she went to Avina's mother's house to sleep. His 14-year-old son has barely spoken.

The family has already suffered a loss. In 2005, Lopez said Avina's brother was stabbed to death in their neighborhood.

The children and Lopez live with his parents. As his mother, Erlinda Aviña, lay on the couch with her husband at her side, she tried the best she could to express her grief and her vow to help her son.

“I will take care of them,” Aviña said of her grandchildren. “She was a good mother that worked for her kids.”

For now, the family is hoping that a $30,000 reward offered by police and Crime Stoppers will help lead to information to find the shooter. It's all they can think about.

A tangible symbol of the tragedy looms over them all. The car Lopez was driving when his wife was shot is parked outside his home, where candles adorned with images of Jesus line the sidewalk. The windshield is pierced by a bullet hole, the front passenger seat stained with blood.

Lopez could barely bring himself to pull the car into the driveway. But eventually he did, late Monday, to bring it closer to home.

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