HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — A 29-year-old widow who lost her husband and four-year-old son during a shooting rampage is speaking out to thank the community for its support in the wake of the tragedy.
Gloria Jimenez and her husband, 33 year-old Filimon Lamas, were raising their four children at a rented home in Inglewood last October when the family’s neighbor, 55-year-old Desmond Moses, knocked on the door and opened fire.
“I just remember some hits… and went into the bathroom and when I came out I saw my husband on the floor with Gio,” she told CBS2′s Rachel Kim.
Gloria had been shot in the legs and abdomen after she opened the door.
During the rampage, everyone, except for the couple’s nine-year-old Anthony, was hit. Seven-year-old Ricardo was shot in the pelvis. Eight-year-old Crystal was shot in the chest.
Filimon tried to shield his children, draping himself over them.
“I didn’t feel it, but i just got scared,” Crystal said.
Gloria remembers her husband lying motionless.
“He never opened his eyes. We started calling him, all the kids and I, he just took a deep breath and we knew he was gone,” she said.
Gloria cradled Gio in her arms and ran outside with the children.
Hours later, the boy died at the hospital from a gunshot wound to the head. Crystal and Ricardo survived their injuries.
“I didn’t understand why it was happening to us… I did ask god why, but I never doubt in him,” she said.
Gloria says Moses may have blamed them for an eviction notice he received from their landlord.
Authorities say after the rampage, he shot himself in the head. His body and gun were found inside the burned out bungalow behind the family’s home, which he had rented for more than a decade.
“I guess he was just ready to hurt whoever came his way because when they found him, they found a lot of bullets in his pocket,” Gloria said.
Weeks after the tragedy, many shared the family’s grief as the father and son were laid to rest.
Gloria and Filimon, who loved ones knew as Fili, had just put an offer in to buy a house. Since the shootings, the family has moved to another city but their former home of nine years still stands Inglewood. The suspect’s bungalow in back has been torn down.
Gloria says she returned for the first time in June, intent to face her fears and to grow stronger.
“I was moving on because I had a reason… for them,” she said with support from her son, Anthony.
“I tell her she’s really courageous and helpful and she’s the best mom in the whole world,” the little boy said.
Gloria has also taken over her husband’s role as co-owner of Chips Cafe in Hawthorne, where he worked before his death.
She says the outpouring of love she’s received is overwhelming.
“I saw this as a good opportunity, even though it’s not easy, to thank the community for all the support. Prayers, donations, cards, just thinking about us,” she explained.
The cafe is sometimes a sad reminder of Fili. In those times, Gloria looks up at a photo of him and remembers – her high school sweetheart, a happy, hard-working, loving husband and father – their hero – is always watching over them.
“I just want Fili to be happy and to be proud of me. And Giovanni too,” she said.
“One day, we’ll reunite and be happy like the family we wanted to have here.”