The suspect knew his victims and the cops confirmed it wasn't a random shooting. The suspect has been found mentally unfit to stand trial.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions gun violence that may be disturbing to readers.
Matthew Farias, a nine-year-old boy, 'took bullets' for his mother and died during a shooting rampage in Orange, California. Blanca Tamayo, the boy's mother, said she was cradling the boy when they were shot.
"I'm here with my pain … He was my only son, my life," says the boy's father, Rafael Farias. Matthew was a much-loved boy in the family and the community, and his teachers at Hoover Elementary School considered him their favorite student. He deeply loved sports and his father recalls how he once announced that he was going to start playing soccer because he was "too good for basketball," reported USA Today.
Farias says the family is heartbroken. The image seared into their minds is that of a boy lying in his mother's arms after the shooting. Farias still can't believe someone would do that to a kid. "I'm so shocked. I've never met this person, animal," said Farias, in tears. "Innocent people did not deserve to die." Matthew Farias was among four who were killed inside Unified Homes, a mobile-home broker, in an incident from April last year. The other three to be killed were identified as Luis Tovar, 50, Leticia Solis Guzman, 58, and Jenevieve Raygoza, 28 by the Orange Police Department. Luis Tovar owned Unified Homes.
The police arrested a 44-year-old trucking company owner who was wounded by police during a gun battle at the business. The suspect, Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, is married to a longtime employee of United Homes, Aleyda Mendoza, reported AP News. Gonzalez was later ruled incompetent to stand trial and was committed to the Department of State Hospitals for the treatment of injuries he sustained during a shootout with police last December. He had been struck by a bullet in the head and was ruled to be incapable of understanding the murder charges he faces or assisting with his own defense by multiple experts. Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham determined that Gonzalez will be transported from county jail to an unspecified medical facility. “The pain that this caused is very deep,” said Tamayo, who lost her son, reported OCR. “He destroyed my heart and soul. I don’t say that they kill him, but that he be behind bars for the rest of his life.” He faces four counts of murder as well as three of attempted murder.
The suspect is believed to have locked the entrances to the building to stop them from escaping before shooting his victims. The authorities said he knew the victims and was in some way related to the business. Matthew's mother was an employee at Unified Homes and was shot at work. She was wounded but survived. "My angel, he saved his mom from dying," said the boy's father Farias. "He took the bullets for her." He described his son as being playful and a very happy character. "RIP my lovely son. I miss you a lot already. I will fight hard for JUSTICE for you son!!" he wrote on Facebook.
“It’s heartbreaking that he is no longer here,” said Farias, reported The OCR. “It’s hard.” Brenda Ramirez, Rafael Farias' cousin said, “Rafael is heartbroken, especially to have lost his son in such a violent way. But we are getting so much support from family and friends, who have been sharing their thoughts and love. Everyone is mobilizing to help. That is so critical for Rafael right now.” At the turn of the year, Farias looked back on a horrific year personally and opened up about dealing with the grief of losing Matthew. "2021 was the worst year for me and broke my heart but not my faith after having experienced the wrongful death of my 9-year-old son Matthew. I am ready for a new and better 2022 New Year and a new journey!!" he wrote.
Thalia Tovar, daughter of the Unified Homes owner also addressed the shooting at the time, writing, "My heart is heavy as I try to grasp and accept what has happened. We are so deeply saddened by the loss of our father, sister, and close family friends." A GoFundMe page was started on behalf of the Raygoza family. "To lose your mother at the ages of 4 and 8 is without description, and to lose her in this senseless way will never be a closed story for these wonderful little boys," wrote brother-in-law Alberto Raygoza.
Cover Image source: GoFundMe