“She Was the Heart of the Family”: Neighbor on Mom Killed in Possible Road Rage Shooting

A 30-year-old Oakland mother of four was shot dead on her way home from grocery shopping Sunday, in an attack that police say road rage may have triggered and that a neighbor says cost her family its heart.

Perla Avina's husband Mando Lopez was driving the two of them home from the grocery store around 12:30 p.m. when, police say, another driver shot her near her home after "some type of confrontation."

Neighbor Dwayne Jackson said he saw Lopez race up the driveway, putting pressure on his wife's face. Jackson called 911 and performed first aid, as Lopez cried out to Avina, "Wake up, wake up, wake up!"

"I didn't see any signs of life," Jackson said. "There was no waking up."

Family members performed CPR on Avina. Police did, too. But it was too late. Avina, who said on her Facebook page she is originally from Los Angeles, was declared dead at the scene.

"It's a life-changing experience," Jackson said, to "help someone knowing I couldn't help them. I tried everything in my power."

Avina was "the heart of the family," Jackson said, and authorities told the Oakland Tribune she worked as a medical receptionist.

"She made the family work, with the kids, and school and working," Jackson added. "This could have been my family."

Oakland police are offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to whoever shot Avina, as she rode in the front passenger seat of a black 1998 Toyota Camry heading south on 98th Avenue.

"Road rage may have possibly occurred," police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. "Road rage is extremely dangerous. In this case it turned deadly."

Watson gave few details on why investigators feel the deadly shooting is likely linked to road rage.

Police did not indicate that any of the four children, one of whom is as young as 18 months, were in the car and did not say where they were at the time of the shooting.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Oakland police Homicide Unit at (510) 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers of Oakland at (510) 777-8572.

NBC Bay Area photographer Henry Jerkins and Telemundo photographer Jose Luis Cosme and Lucero Benitez contributed to this report.

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