15-Year-Old Daughter Honored by LAPD After Mother Fatally Shot in South L.A.

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Emily Santos, 15, is shown a Los Angeles Police Department press conference on March 8, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

The 15-year-old daughter of a woman fatally shot by a stray bullet in South L.A. was honored by the Los Angeles Police Department on Wednesday.

Emily Santos, 15, received a special certificate of recognition from Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office for her strength and courage.

The high school student has been raising her 1-year-old son and helping to take care of her 9-year-old sister, Melisabeth Cordero, since the June 2016 shooting of her mother.

“In light of what you’ve been through, your bravery, what you’ve displayed to all of us. Many of us can learn from you. Many of us can take a page from your book,” said one LAPD official during a press conference.

The teen’s mother, Dianey Santos, 39, was shot and killed while waiting for the bus at a stop near the corner of South Broadway and West 83rd Street in the Florence neighborhood.

Dianey Santos is seen in a photo provided by her family to LAPD.

Two men, who are believed to be gang members according to the LAPD, got into altercation around 9:45 p.m. and began shooting. Dianey Santos was hit in the head and pronounced dead three days later, police said.

“It’s been eight months since I lost my mother. It’s still hard to talk about it,” Emily Santos said with tears in her eyes. “Can you imagine losing a mother — the person that was a best friend? She was everything to us. She was the only person we had. I hate the fact that people think it’s OK to kill people.”

Emily and her sister, who were taken in by their godparents, have different fathers who are not in their lives, the family said.

Barbara, Emily Santos’ high school English teacher, also spoke about Emily’s strong spirit.

Los Angeles Police officials on Sept. 20, 2016 released this composite sketch of a man they suspect killed a woman at a South Los Angeles bus stop in June.

“She is an extraordinary human being. She’s an extraordinary survivor. I did not even know what had happened because, in the face of everything that went on, Emily still came to school every single day, focused on her work,” said Barbara. “It was not until one day when she was sharing the video clip of her mother actually being shot, it was on the news, that I learned what had happened. I burst into tears. No child should have to experience that. No human being should have to experience that. I cannot tell you how much she inspires me.”

Emily Santos pleaded with the public to come forward with any information that may help her mother’s case. The suspect is believed to be a black man in his 20s, according to the police.

The LAPD is offering a $50,000 reward for any information about the shooting and tipsters can call the department at 323-786-5113.

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