FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Saturday’s homicide victim, the first of this year, was a quiet woman, a hard worker and a single mother whose children were her everything.
Maria del Socorro Maldonado Ambriz, 39, owned Jenny’s Bakery Panaderia, a small Mexican confectionary on Hessen Cassel Road.
Tuesday, a sign outside the bakery said it was “closed until further notice,” and to make deliveries a couple doors down at El Paraiso, a Hispanic-oriented grocery and restaurant with other small businesses.
Her bakery goods were still available in plastic see-through bags at El Paraiso. Grocery store employees set out a white plastic tub with the victim’s photo on it to raise money for the family.
Everyone interviewed at the strip mall said they were too afraid to speak out publicly on the shocking shooting of Ambriz around 5:15 p.m. Saturday.
“Es feo,” one cashier said, translating to “it’s ugly.”
A masked man dressed in black burst into del Socorro’s home in the 5600 block of Standish Drive Saturday evening, threatening to shoot her and her two children. Ambriz was mother to a 14-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl who were often at El Paraiso and the bakery, according to a woman who knew her well.
The killer then forced del Socorro into her own SUV. Four blocks away from her home, he shot 30 rounds into her car, and left her for dead. Police released a video Monday after the killer was apparently captured on a neighbor’s porch video camera and caught running away from the scene carrying a gun, dressed in all black with his face covered.
When Ambriz was forcefully taken from her house, her children called the bakery and told the employees there what happened. The bakery employees then ran into El Paraiso in shock. The children are now staying with a family member, a business owner at the strip mall said.
Ambriz had owned the bakery for more than nine years, according to the people at El Paraiso and at the nearby U.S. Post Office. Police showed up at the bakery about an hour after del Socorro was shot, they said. No video from the post office is available, one employee said, but there may be evidence from surveillance cameras at the Shell gas station there.
One business owner said the shooting unnerved her to the point where she has reluctantly decided to close her business this summer.
“My husband said it’s not worth it,” she said. She recalled Ambriz being robbed twice, once inside the bakery and once while walking to her car, police confirming the information.
“And what for?” the business owner said. “She sold Mexican bread.” She said everyone hoped police would be able to catch the killer heartless enough to pump 30 bullets into a car to kill someone.
“How (does) he have the heart to kill a woman like that? It’s unbelievable,” she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 436-STOP or the FWPD Detective Bureau at 427-1201. Police are also encouraging people to use the P3 App.