Police search for gunman who murdered a mom in front of children

By Mark Boyle - Reporter

HOUSTON - The gunman who shot and killed a young mother picking up her daughter from school Tuesday is still on the run.

Family members of the victim are still in shock and those who were close to Merlyn Orellana are scared to even walk outside.

"A neighbor, a family or anything; we are very upset because it's very important. We need safety," said the victim's friend, Edis Torres.

The 24-year-old mother was walking along Rockyridge near Pagewood in southwest Houston Tuesday when she was gunned down just after 3 p.m. She was walking to nearby Emerson Elementary School to pick up her 7-year-old daughter.

"She was walking there along the sidewalk and was approached by a Hispanic male who shot her multiple times," said a Houston police officer.

Police have very few leads and they're asking questions about the victim's husband. According to Orellana's roommate, she moved to Houston about a year ago, leaving behind her husband in Honduras. The roommate says the victim's husband was in a gang and Orellana was hoping for a better life.

"So to know that something like that could happen in this area is very scary," said parent Erin Sweed.

Meanwhile, for those who live nearby, knowing the suspect has not be caught is a big concern.

"I have a bad history in this area, so it's scary to hear something like that; especially with the kids coming over here with the buses. There is a lot of things that go on in this area," said Sweed.

Orellana's child is in CPS custody in a foster family home for the time being.

There will be a child custody hearing in this case in two weeks. CPS says it is not sure when the child will be able to leave the foster family home.

Police have described the suspect as a Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s, 5 feet 6 inches tall with a stocky build. He was unshaven and last seen wearing a black winter hat, turquoise zip-up jacket and dark pants. Witnesses told police he was seen running away from the scene after the shooting.

HPD homicide detectives are asking anyone who was in the area and may have seen something to contact them at 713-308-3600 or to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 713-222-TIPS.

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