Police are attempting to identify the person or people behind a drive-by shooting in Wilmington that left a 31-year-old mother dead.
Monica Nicole Ruiz and her cousin, Ashley, were shot in front of an apartment complex in the 300 block of D Street around 9:50 p.m. on Thursday, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.
The two women were struck when a vehicle drove past the residence and fired multiple rounds at them, police said.
Ruiz was at the home to visit her mother, friends said. Investigators do not know anything about the vehicle's occupants, or how many people were involved.
Paramedics responded to the scene and transported Ruiz to the hospital, where she later died. Ashley was also treated at a nearby hospital and was in stable condition, officials said.
A woman who identified herself as Cheyanne Valenzuela and said she was a neighbor of Ruiz's told KTLA the 31-year-old's five children — ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old — witnessed the shooting.
The neighbor described a horrific scene, with Ruiz's 9-year-old screaming, "Mommy," after she was shot.
"It was a horrific night for everybody," said Valenzuela. "My beautiful neighbor was shot and killed."
The children have been placed in the care of a family member, she added.
Valenzuela, who said she also witnessed the shooting, described the perpetrator's vehicle as a light-colored, early 2000s Toyota Camry. She told KTLA that she thinks Ruiz ran outside to help her cousin when the shooting began.
"I believe when she went out to help Ashley; she was being a mama bird. She was going to protect, and help, and save somebody," said Valenzuela. "She was an amazing mother. That was what she lived for; she lived for her children.
Police have not yet released a description of the suspects or their vehicle.
Anyone with additional information about the incident can call Sergeant Oliva or Officer Tiffin at 310-726-7886 or 310-726-7884.
KTLA's Mariel Turner contributed to this article.