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‘Leaving this to God and the court system,’ Friend of 20-year-old woman killed in Cypress speaks out

Rio Red Sky Gonzales is mourning the loss of her close friend and her brother’s girlfriend, Julie De La Garza. The 20-year-old woman was shot in the face in the Cypress Spring area last Sunday.

De La Garza and her boyfriend Francisco Gonzales were driving in a truck when her ex-boyfriend, who was identified as Mann Austin Hayes began firing. De La Garza was rushed to a nearby emergency room, where she was transported to the hospital and later died.

“Francisco told me that she looked at him. She was leaning over and she looked at him and that was the last thing he saw until her head dropped,” said Gonzales.

Gonzales said Garza was like a sister to her.

“She was real sweet," said Gonzales. "It was her smile and brown eyes that just drew people to her she was the kind of girl that when you hangout with her you didn’t want to stop.”

Gonzales said her brother is still shaken by what happened. She said they miss her more with each passing day.

Gonzales said she is also familiar with the suspected shooter, who has been identified as Mann Austin Hayes. He has been charged with murder.

“Austin had his problems," Gonzales said. “He slept at my house before. We’ve taken care of him before. He was a friend of ours. He was Julie’s ex-boyfriend, and I think there was a lot of jealousy there.”

However, investigators have not released a motive for the shooting.

Hayes' first court appearance is scheduled for October 26.

“I’m leaving this to god and the court system to bring justice to Julie,” said Gonzales.