Mass Shootings

Woman Who Held Son in Her Arms During Orange Mass Shooting Released From Hospital

Police responded to a horrifying scene March 31, finding Blanca Ismeralda Tamayo holding her 9-year-old son Matthew. He was among four killed in the office building shooting.

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The only survivor of the mass shooting at an Orange office building in March that left four people, including her 9-year-old son, dead was released Wednesday from the hospital. 

Blanca Ismeralda Tamayo was released from UCI Medical Center on Wednesday, two bullets still lodged in her head. Tamayo will be recovering at home from injuries she suffered in the March 31 shooting at the real estate office where she worked. 

Among the fatally wounded victims were her 9-year-old son, Matthew Farias, and her 28-year-old daughter, Jenevieve Raygoza, herself a mother of two young children.

Police responding to the shooting found Tamayo clutching Matthew. She was wearing a T-shirt in memory of Matthew Wednesday as she clutched at her chest and wept when asked about the boy.

“He is an angel of God,'' she said.

Rafael Farias, Matthew’s father, said the two had a special bond that remained unbroken in their final moments together.

A fifth victim was rushed to the hospital and was in critical condition. Beverly White and Jonathan Gonzalez reported on NBC4 News on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

"She put her life on the line for him," Farias said. "And, and vice versa. My son was a warrior, brave. He would put his life on the line for his mom."

Tamayo spent days unconscious, her body functioning with the assistance of machines. Dr. Michael Lekawa, one of the UCI Health trauma surgeons who treated Tamayo, said Wednesday that such wounds are difficult to survive.

“This is a great outcome,'' Lekawa said. “I think we can only expect to see more and more improvements as time goes on. I think she's going to do very well.''

Blanca Tamayo wears a shirt with a picture of her son, 9-year-old Matthew, as she is released from a hospital Wednesday May 6, 2021.

Tamayo left the hospital wearing a protective helmet and bearing a scar on the right side of her face. She spoke little, mostly to thank medical staff, and avoided talking about the shooting that changed her life.

"She's improving every single day," said son Luis Tovar. "So, the future looks positive."

The gunman arrived at Unified Homes real estate office in Orange armed with a semi-automatic handgun, ammunition, pepper spray and handcuffs, and opened fire. Investigators said he also locked the gates to the complex.

Tamayo, a Santa Ana resident, also worked at the real estate firm that specializes in mobile homes. That day, she had brought Matthew to the office.

The man charged with the shootings, Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, is the husband or ex-husband of a former employee at the real estate firm. The suspect's attorneys have said Gonzalez -- who was shot in the head by a police officer during a gun battle -- has been unable to communicate with them.

On Wednesday, Assistant Public Defender Ken Morrison told Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham that he remains in the same condition,. 

Authorities have not released additional details about the investigation, and have not discussed any suspected motive.

Orange police, at the request of the Orange County District Attorney's office, have decided against publicly releasing body camera footage and 911 calls related to the shooting. District Attorney Todd Spitzer asked that evidence be kept out of the public eye due to ongoing investigations.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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