Funeral Held for Victim of Church’s Chicken Shooting

Maribel Ibanez, 28, was killed when a gunman opened fire on employees at a Church’s Chicken Restaurant in Otay Mesa on Nov. 6

The funeral for the victim of the tragic shooting at a Church’s Chicken in Otay Mesa was held Friday evening in Bonita.

Maribel Ibañez, 28, died on Nov. 6 when a disgruntled customer armed with a gun opened fire on employees behind the counter of the restaurant just miles north of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the San Diego Police Department said.

Family, friends and members of the community showed up to Glenn Abbey Memorial Park to attend Ibañez’s funeral.

“She was a happy, charismatic person, she helped a lot, whatever she could’ve done to help someone she would,” said Ramon Mendoza, Ibañez’s husband.

Ibañez was a newlywed and had been working at the restaurant for at least 12 years as a shift leader, according to her sister, Gabriela Merino.

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses and was able to raise more than $12,000.

“I want to thank all of them for their support and for helping us,” said Merino. “It’s totally wonderful what you’re doing for us and for my sister, God bless you for everything.”

The unknown suspect shot several rounds and two other employees, identified by a family member as Mario Rojas and Humberto Ruiz, were struck. Ruiz has since been released from the hospital.

Mario Rojas continues in the hospital as he recovers from gunshot wounds. He was shot twice, once in the arm and another in the stomach. He's been in and out of multiple surgeries as doctors remove one bullet from his arm and are working to remove another near his spine, Mario's daughter, Brenda, told NBC 7. 

A GoFundMe page was set up to help with medical expenses. 

As of Friday evening, the suspected gunman had not been found. Police believe he took off northbound in Picador Boulevard in a dark blue sedan.

The San Diego Police Department said they were looking for the suspect described to be a black man with a thin build in his 30s. He was about 6 feet tall and wearing a light blue sweater, red sunglasses and a Chargers beanie at the time of the shooting.

According to SDPD Capt. Tom Underwood, the suspect had visited the restaurant minutes before the shooting. He tried to pay for food using a counterfeit bill then got into an argument with employees and left.

Minutes later, he returned with a loaded gun.

The restaurant is roughly 10 minutes away from the border. Police said they cannot confirm if the suspect fled to Mexico but said investigators will monitor surveillance footage near the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa international ports of entry.

The restaurant reopened a week later, and had security cameras installed inside the restaurant.

“It’s too late, but the next employees who will be there can feel safer,” said Mendoza.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Victim Services Division announced that those affected by the shooting should contact the department for any medical and emotional needs.

Victims may receive services and resources by calling the Victim Services Division at (619) 531-4041. The department is supported by the State of California’s Victim Compensation Board.

Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the SDPD Homicide Unit at (619)531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888)580-8477.

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