OXNARD (CBSLA) — A grieving daughter is speaking out about what happened to her father who died from a bullet lodged in his head for more than a month.
Melissa Mendoza says her dad Michael raised her and her siblings as a single parent and was a big part of her life. She now feels his absence.
“I miss him so much. I miss my dad,” said Mendoza. “He would do whatever it took to please others and that was his way of showing love.”
56-year-old Michael Mendoza was shot outside his Oxnard apartment around 11:30 p.m. on July 11.
As he was about to go up the stairs, someone in a truck drove by and opened fire. Although Mendoza wasn’t the intended victim, he was shot in back of his head, near his neck.
In the hospital, he told Melissa what he remembered about the night he was shot.
“All he remembers hearing is someone’s name getting yelled and it wasn’t his name. It was someone else’s name getting yelled and then just the sound of a gunshot,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza also told his daughter he remembered seeing the shooter’s face — a face he did’t know or recognize.
He would later be released from the hospital, with the bullet still lodged in his head. He went home and spent time with his family, but Mendoza passed away from his injuries on August 13 — 33 days after he was shot.
“My sisters and I were finding comfort, at least we got a month more with dad in that week of him being home. At least he got to do all the things he loved,” said Mendoza.
Melissa says her dad served in the Navy and had just overcome cancer in this throat. He worked hard as a handyman and graphics designer to support his family. She is angry that a stray bullet took his life.
“Maybe I’ll accept it if someone is held accountable, maybe not, I really don’t know,” said Mendoza.
What Melissa does know is that someone out there has information that can help identify her dad’s killer.
“At the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do, to come forward because my dad deserves that,” said Mendoza. “We deserve that.”