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Phoenix family mourns the death of mother killed in a drive-by shooting; police seek witnesses

Police said Adriana Alejo jumped in front of her 12-year-old son, who was with her Wednesday night, protecting him from the bullet.

PHOENIX — The family of a Phoenix mother is mourning her death, and, at the same time, pursuing justice for her killing.

Adriana Alejo, 32, was killed Wednesday night while waiting in line for food outside of Liyuen Chinese Food on the corner of 7th Avenue and Pima Road. 

RELATED: Valley mom gunned down while standing in line for food with son

According to the Phoenix Police Department, she was not the target of the shooter, who fired from the vehicle into the line of people, hitting only Alejo.

Police also said Alejo jumped in front of her 12-year-old son, who was with her Wednesday night, protecting him from the bullet.

Her brother, Adrian, called her a hero for her sacrifice.

“She got in front of a bullet to save her son,” Adrian Alejo said. “She always said that her kids were going to be first. If something happened she was going to take anything for them, and that’s what she did.”

Adriana Alejo has two children, ages 11 and 12. Their father, Gabriel Rico, was shocked by her death.

“It’s just hurtful, senseless act,” Rico said. “My son could’ve gotten hurt, so I’m just happy that he’s ok, and it’s just scary to think of it.”

Adrian Alejo said his sister had a contagious laugh and always had his back when they were growing up in their father’s home. The two siblings were only one year apart. 

Adrian now lives in Tucson and said he could hardly control himself after hearing the news and having to drive up from Tucson. He’s pleading for any witnesses to come forward.

“I’m sad that they took her away from us this early, and I want justice. I want somebody to come forward,” Adrian Alejo said.

Commander Warren Brewer of the Violent Crimes Bureau said this shooting could be related to other recent shootings in the area.

“We are looking at evidence and going through the cases to see if there’s any relationship here between this incident and the prior shootings,” Brewer said. “We believe there were other witnesses there, so we encourage those witnesses to come forward.”

Brewer said there would be extra patrols in the area to work on this crime as well as to try and stop other possibly related violent crimes.

“No one should have to worry about getting shot while standing in line for food,” Brewer said. “No child should have to witness their mother getting gunned down. This is unacceptable."

The Alejo family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with Adriana’s funeral expenses.

Adrian said that if she were here in front of him, he would have a couple of things to say.

“That I love her so much,” Adrian Alejo said in Spanish. “That I miss her.”

If you know anything about this crime, Phoenix police ask you to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. You can remain anonymous.

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