HOUSTON -- The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has released images of a vehicle they say could be linked to the murder of a four-year-old Houston girl killed during a robbery.
Ava Castillo was helping her mother Diana Gomez, 27, unload groceries from the family’s car Monday night when they were ambushed by armed suspects, reports CBS affiliate KHOU.The gunmen opened fire, and the girl, her ten-year-old sister Betzida and Gomez were all struck by bullets.
Gomez was shot seven times and remains in critical condition. Betizda was treated and released. Ava was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Gomez sister Julie told the station the three men tried to steal the car, but when they couldn’t start the vehicle, they tried to steal the woman’s purse. That’s when they started shooting.
Julie Gomez said the woman tried to protect the girls by putting them behind her when she saw the gun. She said her sister can’t stop crying over the death of her young daughter.
“My sister is at a loss for words. She’s in shock. She’s in disbelief,” Julie Gomez told the station.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video and are investigating whether the case could be connected to other violent robberies in the area. Thursday, they released a photo of a black Honda Accord with license plate GBV0987. The vehicle was stolen in a reported carjacking the same night Ava was shot to death.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division at 713-274-9100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS(8477). Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.