Central CA mother fatally shot while shielding her 3 kids from gunfire; suspect arrested: Police

California

He's the estranged husband of the victim

A man was arrested in connection to a deadly shooting in Madera Tuesday of a mother who shielded her three children from gunfire in what authorities called a domestic violence incident.

The shooting happened around 2:30 p.m. outside Camarena Healthcare Clinic in Madera, where the victim had an appointment, according to the Madera Police Department.

The suspect, the victim’s estranged husband, had allegedly stalked the woman to her appointment and waited for her to come out of the building, police said.

She was walking to her vehicle when he confronted her.

Julio Garay

“She was shot once; she ran over to the van and laid over her three children to save them. At that point she sustained two more gunshot wounds,” Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson said Tuesday.

The attack wasn’t random, but a tragic outcome of domestic violence: the suspect was stalking the woman and had a lengthy criminal history of domestic violence in Chowchilla, he said.

“A cold-blooded act in front of the mother’s children, or even taking a life in the first place, but to do it in front of your own children and the mother, being a mother sacrificed her own life and laid across the body of her children to save them,” Lawson said.

The victim’s three children were all 6 years old or younger; they were uninjured.

According to Madera police, both the suspect — identified as 49-year-old Julio Garay — and the woman are from Chowchilla.

Garay was located and taken into custody. He was booked into the Madera County Jail on Wednesday morning.

The suspect recently bailed out of jail on a domestic violence charge against the same victim. That incident occurred in the city of Chowchilla.

Garay was arrested in Marina on Tuesday night. He was transported back to Madera where he was booked on suspicion of homicide.

The identity of the mother has not yet been released.

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