The former wife of the accused gunman in this week’s mass shooting at a California business voiced dismay about the killings and sorrow over the loss of the victims, who were her former colleagues, the Orange County Register reports.
On Saturday, Aleyda Mendoza, the ex-wife of the suspect, issued a written statement to the newspaper that said she did not understand what prompted the slayings.
“I don’t have the words to describe the pain and horror that this tragedy has caused me – this should have never happened,” Mendoza said in the statement. “My heart is crushed, I still can’t accept that this happened, I keep closing my eyes and praying to God this is all just a bad dream and I’ll wake up soon.”
Wednesday’s shooting left four people dead. Mendoza’s former husband, 44-year-old Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, is facing murder charges in connection with the deaths of four people: 28-year-old Genevieve Raygoza, 50-year-old Luis Tovar, 58-year-old Leticia Solis Guzman and 9-year-old Matthew Farias.
Gonzalez also is accused of the attempted murder of three people: Matthews’ mother, Blanca Ismeralda Tamayo, who is critical condition, and two police officers.
Luis Tovar and Blanca Tamayo had two children together, one of whom was Genevieve Raygoza. Leticia Solis Guzman worked at the business.
Gonzalez could be eligible for the death penalty if prosecutors seek a special charge enhancer for multiple murders, according to the Orange County Register.
Mendoza had previously worked at the Orange, California, business where the shooting occurred: Unified Homes, which sells mobile homes and real estate. She described the firm as “my home for more than 10 years” and its employees as “my family.”
“I learned everything I know there and they shaped who I am today,” Mendoza wrote in the statement to the newspaper. “They always supported me and were there for me and my children whenever I needed them most.”
Mendoza told the newspaper that she separated from Gonzalez about two years ago and had not heard from him since.
In the wake of the shooting, Mendoza has received threatening messages, which has left her fearful for her family’s lives.
“It hurts me even more knowing my ex-husband was capable of doing such a horrible thing, I can’t understand what went through his head to make such a terrifying decision,” Mendoza told the newspaper. “He left behind a sea of pain and grief for so many families who can’t find comfort.”
When responding officers arrived at the scene on Wednesday, they were being fired upon and found that the business’ entryways were sealed with bicycle locks.
Officers fired back and struck Gonzales in the head. Police later found a backpack belonging to Gonzales that contained handcuffs, ammunition and pepper spray.
As of Friday, Gonzalez was in a hospital and unconscious.
Investigators have not pinned down a motive for the shooting, but a working theory is that Gonzalez had some sort of conflict with Tovar, who owned the company.
Luis Tovar Jr. told the newspaper that he remembered meeting Gonzalez at family gatherings but did not recall seeing any indications of strain between Gonzalez and others. Tovar Jr. said he didn’t understand why his family was targeted.
“He was just trying to cause as much damage as he could,” Tovar Jr. told the newspaper.
The rampage was the largest mass killing in Orange County in nearly a decade, according to the Orange County Regiser. There have been at least three other mass shootings in less than three weeks in the United States: eight dead in Georgia, 10 dead in Colorado, and three dead in North Carolina.
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[Feature image:Luis Tovar/Facebook; Genevieve Raygoza/GoFundMe]