A California mother of five children is dead and her nephew is charged with killing her after she tried breaking up a fight at a family baby shower over the weekend, police said.
The woman, Beatrice Romo, 38, of Riverside, was shot Saturday night at the Elks Lodge in Riverside, where her niece’s baby shower was being held. The accused shooter, Abraham David Bonilla, 37, was arrested a short time later after fleeing the scene and getting into a hit-and-run crash a couple of miles from the Elks Lodge, Riverside police officials said.
Bonilla is charged with murder, attempted murder and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to jail records. He is being held in the Southwest Detention Center in Riverside County in lieu of $1 million bond on each charge.
He previously spent about five years in an Arizona state prison on aggravated assault charges, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections database.
Police officials said dispatchers received a call just after 7 p.m. Saturday reporting the fight and a possible shooting. While officers were at the scene, Romo arrived at Riverside Community Hospital by personal vehicle, suffering from gunshot wounds.
A few minutes later, a man also arrived at the hospital with gunshot wounds, a Riverside police news release said. Both victims went into emergency surgery.
Romo died of her injuries, while the man, whose name has not been released, was left in critical condition.
According to jail records, Bonilla was in police custody about 15 minutes after the 911 call reporting the shooting.
At least two of Romo’s children were present when she was gunned down.
“After the gunshots, everyone was, like, ‘It’s Bea! It’s Bea! Bea got hurt!’ Romo’s daughter, Daisy, told NBC Los Angeles.
Romo’s son, Joshua, told the news station that he heard a shot and saw his mother fall to the floor.
“I was just telling her I love her,” Joshua Romo said. “She was getting so pale.”
The last thing his mother told him, as she was being loaded into an ambulance, was that she would be OK.
Romo’s husband, Ronnie Romo, described his wife as loving, giving and beautiful.
“My wife was the woman men dream of, bro,” Ronnie Romo, 42, told the Press-Enterprise in Riverside.
He said his wife spent the day before the baby shower making cake pops and cupcakes for the celebration.
Tere Leyva, a longtime friend of Beatrice Romo, told the newspaper that she was told her friend was shot when she got in between the people arguing and tried to shield the person behind her. It was indicative of Romo’s caring nature.
Romo could also be the “life of the party,” Leyva said.
“She’d get there and she’d say, ‘Let’s dance,’” Leyva told the Press-Enterprise. “She was a happy person.”
Daisy Romo told NBC Los Angeles that she would never be able to forgive Bonilla for taking her mother -- and his own aunt – away from their family.
Ronnie Romo, who said his wife “lit up the room,” is trying to come to terms with the fact that she’s gone.
“I thought I was going to grow old with my wife,” Ronnie Romo told the news station. “That was my goal.”
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