SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Friends and family are grieving the loss of 67-year-old Margarita Gomez, the final victim to be identified in the shooting rampage that killed five people and injured five others in Santa Monica Friday.
Gomez, who lived in Santa Monica for 28 years, was killed outside of the library at Santa Monica College.
“She loves Santa Monica and the people, the city,” said her son, Rafael Torres. “I don’t know why this had to happen to her.”
Gomez was diabetic, and would often walk from her home to Santa Monica college across the street for exercise and to collect cans and bottles for recycling.
Torres said she used the money she earned from recyclables to help pay some of her bills.
“She’s a hardworking lady,” said Torres. “She doesn’t like to be in the house too much.”
Students Noke Taumalolo and Javonte Harris were feet away from Gomez when she was shot.
“Once I heard the pop I saw her laying down over here,” said Taumalolo.
Both students said she was a fixture on campus. They said they would try to help her out by giving her cans and bottles to recycle.
She spoke very little English, and the two students did not know her name.
“I’ve been thinking about her, and I haven’t been able to sleep,” said Harris.
Gomez’s family said she rarely went to campus on Fridays because fewer students were there.
“It’s very sad because I was looking for her name on the internet but it wasn’t very displayed,” said Taumalolo. Upon seeing her photo, said Taumalolo, “I was just stunned.”
“It’s tough for anybody to lose their mom,” said her son. “Now I know it’s too hard.”
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