Stray Bullet Kills Girl, 7, Sitting in Car With Her Dad at Fla. Shopping Plaza
Heydi Rivas Villanueva died after being struck in the head by gunfire exchanged between two unrelated groups, police say
A stray bullet struck and killed a 7-year-old girl sitting with her dad inside a car at a Florida shopping plaza on Saturday — and police are seeking suspects from among two groups who exchanged gunfire at the scene and then fled, PEOPLE confirms.
“My Lord. My God. This is heartbreaking. These are our children,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry wrote on Twitter after the incident.
“Our cops are in pursuit of these terrible people,” he added. “Prayers for the family. Our law enforcement will bring the full force of the law on those who committed this.”
Police later identified the victim as Heydi Rivas Villanueva, and said she was sitting in the vehicle with her father around 6 p.m. Saturday at the shopping plaza as they waited for someone to emerge from a restaurant.
While they did so, “gunfire erupted between two unrelated groups,” the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. “A stray bullet struck Heydi in the head, killing her.”
She died from her injuries at a hospital, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said during a press conference Sunday.
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Authorities released images of other vehicles they believe were at the scene of the shooting, including a green 2000’s Nissan Altima in which they believe the suspects fled, and a second car, colored blue, that police say may have been involved in a crash with one of the other vehicles.
They also released several videos of potential persons of interest in the shooting.
An $11,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction, according to First Coast Crime Stoppers.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office asks that tipsters call 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.