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Mother killed in Phoenix drive-by shooting

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Posted at 6:59 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 22:00:31-04

PHOENIX — Police say a bystander was killed in a drive-by shooting Wednesday night, near 7th Avenue and Pima Road.

The bystander, identified as 32-year-old Martha Adrianna Alejo, was standing in line waiting for food with her pre-teen son when a car stopped and started shooting at people in the line, according to police.

Her family say the mother of two shielded her son.

"The reason why she's a hero is because she got in front of a bullet to save her son," said Alejo's younger brother, Adrian Alejo. "She always said her kids were going to be first. If something happened, she was going to take anything for them."

Police say they found Alejo with a gunshot wound to the chest. Nobody else was injured in the shooting, but detectives believe Alejo was not the intended target of the shooting.

Police believe that there may be additional witnesses and victim from Wednesday night who left before officers arrived.

"It is weird that she was the only one that got hit. There were more people," said Adrian. "Why was she the only one?"

Police have not clarified how many bullets were fired.

As for the shooter, the car took off going southbound on 7th Avenue and is still on the run.

Police have not released a suspect description.

Gabriel Rico, the father of Alejo's 11- and 12-year-old children, and Adrian asked for the suspect or anyone with any information to step up Friday afternoon.

"Something needs to happen, some kind of justice," Rico said.

"We know that violent crime in our city has been on the rise," said Commander Warren Brewer, head of Phoenix Police Department's Violent Crimes Bureau, in a release. "No one should have to worry about being shot as they stand in line for food. And no child should have to see their mother gunned down for no reason."

Phoenix police confirmed three other shootings since March near the intersection Alejo was killed at, resulting in five people shot with non-life threatening injuries. Police say those shootings are being investigated to see if there are any connections between them.

"We are looking at evidence and going through the cases to see if there's any relationship to this incident to the prior shootings," said Commander Brewer on Friday.

Kevin Malone, a victim from a shooting outside the same restaurant at 7th Avenue and Pima Road, said, "I never in a million years thought something like this would happen just going out to get a bite to eat. I feel lucky now compared to the other family, that's what's heartbreaking."

Malone was not the only victim on that shooting on April 8. He said another man next to him got shot. Both suffered non-life threatening injures.

"People were just screaming, yelling, 'Call 911," said Malone.

Phoenix PD say it is committed to using every resource at its disposal to find whoever is responsible.

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Phoenix Police Department, or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-TESTIGO for Spanish Speakers) if they wish to remain anonymous.