West Miami-Dade

Teen placed in custody of family friends after her mother was gunned down in busy Westchester shopping plaza

An unidentified man shot and killed his wife Tuesday night in the parking lot of the a busy shopping center at 87th Avenue and Coral Way in Westchester.
An unidentified man shot and killed his wife Tuesday night in the parking lot of the a busy shopping center at 87th Avenue and Coral Way in Westchester. Miami Herald Staff

A 15-year-old girl was placed in the custody of her friend's parents Wednesday after her mother was shot and killed the night before in a busy Westchester shopping center.

Police said on Wednesday the girl’s mother, Lourdes Martinez-Rodriguez, had met her estranged husband — whom police have not yet identified — in the Westchester Shopping Plaza for a discussion, when he shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself. The plaza is at Coral Way and NW 87th Avenue.

The teenager, police said, witnessed her mother’s death. The man was taken to Kendall Regional Hospital where he remained in serious condition Wednesday.

According to Miami Herald news partner CBS4, no other relatives showed up for the hearing Wednesday and it was not clear whether her mother’s husband was the teen’s father because the teen’s records were still in Cuba.

After Judge Alan Fine conferred with the teen Wednesday during a hearing, he ordered that she immediately receive grief counseling.

The couple who gained custody, Jorge Delgado and Ania Martinez, told CBS4 the teen was in “bad shape.”

Delgado declined further comment to the news station.

“No not right now. Not right now. The situation is very tense,” he told CBS4.

The shooting happened at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Westchester Shopping Plaza, 8679 SW 24 St. According to police, the pair parked their cars — she in a red sedan and he in a white SUV — side-by-side to talk. At some point the discussion turned into an argument.

People nearby said they heard a loud bang and described chaos as people tried to figure out what happened. A yellow tarp covered the sedan.

“It sounded like a gunshot, but I couldn’t wrap my head around that,” said Adriana Huezo, 16, who was in Westchester Café when she heard a loud noise. “The whole thing was really scary.”

Police could not confirm Wednesday whether the couple has had a history of domestic violence. Spokeswoman Robin Pinkard said, however, that Martinez-Rodriguez did the right thing by choosing a public place to meet.

“Unfortunately in this case it didn’t help,” she said. “But we always say if you have to meet someone, pick a neutral place.”

Pinkard said the incident is a reminder of why domestic situations are taken so seriously and should not be ignored.

“No matter how small something is, it is important to notify police,” she said. “There is help out there.”

Miami Herald news partner CBS4 contributed to this report.

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