MADERA, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A man was arrested in connection to a deadly shooting Tuesday of a mother who shielded her three children from gunfire in what authorities called a domestic violence incident.
The shooting happened around 2:30 p.m. outside Camarena Healthcare Clinic in Madera. Madera Police says the victim was there for an appointment.
Police say the suspect had stalked the woman to her appointment and waited for her to come out of the building.
She was walking to her vehicle when she was confronted by the suspect.
“She was shot once; she ran over to the van and laid over her three children to save them. At that point she sustained two more gunshot wounds,” Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson said Tuesday.
Lawson said the attack wasn’t random but a tragic outcome of domestic violence: the suspect was stalking the woman and has a criminal history of domestic violence in Chowchilla.
“A cold-blooded act in front of the mother’s children, or even taking a life in the first place, but to do it in front of your own children and the mother, being a mother sacrificed her own life and laid across the body of her children to save them,” Lawson said.
The three children with the victim were all 6 years old or younger; they were uninjured.
According to Madera Police, both the suspect and woman are from Chowchilla.
The suspect was located and taken into custody. He was booked into the Madera County Jail on Wednesday morning.
He was identified as Julio Garay, 49, of Chowchilla.
He is the estranged husband of the victim and has a lengthy criminal history related to domestic violence arrests, police said.
The suspect recently bailed out of jail on a domestic violence charge against the same victim. That incident occurred in the city of Chowchilla.
Garay was arrested in Marina, California on Tuesday night. He was transported back to Madera where he was booked on a homicide charge.
The identity of the mother has not yet been released.