STOCKTON -- An innocent man inside his Stockton home was gunned down by a stray bullet on Thursday night. The Stockton Police Department said the bystander was shot along Ponce de Leon Avenue.
With a dream of a better life for his family, Sor Rith escaped the genocide of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and settled in Stockton.
“When he came here, he turned around and said, ‘I’ve made it. My kids have a better life,' and now he’s gone,” Sam Rith, Sor’s son said.
At 57-years-old, Sor Rith became a victim of murder, killed in his own home while he was on the phone. His sons said a stray bullet struck his heart.
“I really don’t know what to say just like you just took my dad. My dad had done nothing to ya’ll. It’s bull,” Alan Rith, Sor’s younger son explained.
Hours after the tragedy, investigators released surveillance video from a home nearby. You can’t see anything in the video but you can hear the gunfire. A teen we spoke to asked us not to show his face. He said gunfire is a common sound in the north Stockton neighborhood.
“We heard a gun battle, like shots going back and forth,” he said.
Rith lived on Ponce de Leon Avenue for decades but his family said he was not afraid of the violence.
“I would never expect this to happen to my father but it did. Immediately showing it can happen to anybody,” Sam said.
Now, heartbroken the Rith family is praying something can be done to stop the senseless shootings so another family doesn’t have to live through this nightmare.
"Cherish your loved ones, you never know when they’re going to go,” Sam told us.
Investigators said it’s unknown at this time if this crime is gang related.
If you have any information about this tragedy, please contact the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377 or crimestoppers (209) 946-0600. Callers can remain anonymous.