Luis Lopez Gallegos and his wife, Perla Avina, were on their way home from the grocery store just a mile from their home Sunday afternoon. The couple had plans to watch the Raiders game with their family. Around 12:30 p.m. their lives changed forever.
Gallegos says the details leading up to the incident are unclear, but remembers that another driver didn’t like the way he was driving and suddenly, shots rang out. One bullet hit Avina in the head, killing the 30-year-old mother within minutes. Dwayne Jackson, Gallegos’ next-door neighbor, was standing outside of his house when Gallegos
“pulled up really abrupt, halfway in the driveway and called to me. He said, ‘D, call 911. My wife’s been shot.’ We pulled her out of the car and I started giving her CPR, but I pretty much knew she was gone. I didn’t see any signs of life. There was no waking up. For this to happen at noon, when most people are coming home from church, is awful.”
Avina was a medical clerk at a pain rehabilitation center in Emeryville. She left behind her husband and three daughters, ages 1, 4, and 8, and her 14-year-old son.
Gallegos and Avina had been high school sweethearts. He said of their four-year-old daughter,
“She doesn’t understand. She keeps asking when Mommy is coming home. It still hasn’t processed. We had plans to watch the game and (Avina) said ‘I’m going to cook you posole.’ So we went to the store like we always did.”
One person’s split-second decision has tragic, lifetime consequences over something as small as an everyday traffic irritation.
The shooter is still on the loose. Anyone with information is asked to call the Oakland PD Homicide Division at (510) 238-3821 or Oakland Crime Stoppers (510) 777-8572. A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the murderer.