DORAL, Fla. – A South Florida family is pleading for help in finding the person who fatally shot a 22-year-old woman, who by all accounts had a bright future ahead of her.
Melissa Gonzalez, who graduated from Florida International University and planned to take the LSAT this week, was shot Jan. 3 on Interstate 95.
Her mother was at the Miami-Dade Police Department in Doral Friday to expand her plea to the public.
It was extremely emotional.
So much so that even some of the reporters in the room became teary-eyed.
Sheilla Nunez said she wants to find out who killed her daughter and why.
“Please, help me,” she said in Spanish.
The heartbroken mother pleaded for answers exactly one week after someone fatally shot her daughter on the highway.
“So that that person can have mental peace, can live, can go to heaven like my daughter, that person needs to cooperate,” Nunez said.
Police said Gonzalez was driving south on I-95 near Northwest 79th Street in Miami-Dade’s West Little River neighborhood when she was struck by a bullet.
Her boyfriend, Julian Veliz Cortina, 26, looked over and saw she was wounded.
She was taken to the hospital, but succumbed to her injuries.
“I want to see the suspect face-to-face, for that person to say to me, ‘Ma’am, forgive me. It wasn’t intentional, ma’am,’” Nunez said.
Gonzalez emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba with her mother when she was 4 years old.
She recently graduated from FIU and was planning to take the LSAT so she could get into law school.
“She was studying day and night. She was talking online courses to prepare for her exam,” Nunez said.
Detectives have ruled out road rage and are looking at the possibility she was hit by a stray bullet.
They said they are looking for the driver of a dark-colored car that was in the area at the time of the shooting.
Police believe there may have been a gun fight or some sort of gunfire exchanged in the area and that a bullet crossed I-95 and struck Gonzalez.
“We’re talking about a young girl who’s done everything right in her life. And she’s driving to see her grandfather who’s ill and ends up getting shot,” Detective Juan Segovia said. “If that doesn’t disgust everybody out there, if that doesn’t outrage everybody in this community, I don’t know what will.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477. A reward of up to $3,000 is offered for information that leads to an arrest.