Young mother shot to death near elementary school

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - One woman is dead in a shooting in southwest Houston.

It happened on Rockyridge Drive near Pagewood Lane as school was letting out around 3:20 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at nearby Emerson Elementary.

"She was on her way to pick her child up from school," said Sgt. Eli Cisneros with the Houston Police Department. "She obviously did not make it."

Police said the young mother was ambushed by the shooter, who approached her from behind and shot her four times before running off. 

Sgt. Cisneros said there were kids and parents in the area when the shooting took place. Police said one woman was sitting in her van waiting to pick up her child when a stray bullet hit her back window. 

"There were numerous people out picking up children at that time. There was an ice cream truck selling ice cream to kids when this took place," Cisneros said. "As she was walking along this path here, along the sidewalk, she was approached by a Hispanic male who shot her multiple times."

Houston police have identified the victim as Merlyn Yolibeth Perez-Orellana, 24.

Family members told Local 2 "Yoli" moved here less than a year ago from Honduras to take care of an ailing aunt. Perez lived at a nearby apartment with relatives, they said she didn't know many people and had no enemies.

"We don't know who would want to hurt her," said a cousin named Francisco. "She didn't know anyone."

Francisco said there was a previous incident involving Perez, a strange man and a gun about one month ago. He said Perez was standing outside her apartment when a man pulled up and fired two shots. Perez reportedly took off running and escaped unharmed.  

Houston police detectives on scene would not comment about the alleged prior incident.

"I'm not going to get into any of that right now," Cisneros said.

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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