ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — The only survivor of a deadly shooting rampage at a Southern California business complex was released from the hospital on Wednesday with a bullet still lodged in her head.
Blanca Tamayo wore a helmet and a T-shirt bearing a photo of her 9-year-old son, Matthew Farias, who died in her arms during the March 31 attack in Orange, southeast of Los Angeles. She underwent surgery at UCI Medical Center.
“I’ve got my family: the father of my boy, my son,” Tamayo said about her other family members. “And they are there to love me and support me, and I am thankful for that.”
She said Matthew is “with God.”
She was in a wheelchair and carried a bouquet of flowers.
Police say Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez opened fire at a mobile home brokerage company, Unified Homes, where his wife had worked for more than a decade. Tamayo also worked at the business.
Gaxiola, 44, is charged with four murder counts and three attempted murder counts on accusations of firing at two officers who were not hit and critically wounding the boy’s mother, authorities said. He was hospitalized after being wounded by police and his arraignment has been repeatedly postponed.
Authorities haven’t revealed a motive for the attack. His estranged wife, Aleyda Mendoza, told The Associated Press in a text last month that she and Gaxiola had been separated for two years and “he never told me anything about where he was staying or what he was doing.”
“I can’t understand what went through his head to make such a terrifying decision,” Mendoza wrote. “He left behind a sea of pain and grief for so many families who can’t find comfort.”
The attack also killed Tamayo’s 28-year-old daughter, Jenevieve Raygoza; a colleague, Leticia Solis Guzman, 58, and the owner of the business, Luis Tovar, 50, who was a former boyfriend of Tamayo and the father of her adult son, Luis Tovar.
Tamayo underwent surgery and portions of her skull were removed. Luis Tovar said a bullet remained lodged just above his mother’s ear.
“It’s a miracle,” he said. “She was injured pretty badly, and I’m just happy to have her back on Mother’s Day, finally. I’m just happy to have her back.”
“Gunshot wounds to the head have a particularly bad outcome,” said Dr. Michael Lekawa, a UCI Medical Center trauma surgeon. “I would say this is a great outcome, and I think we can only expect to see more and more improvements as time goes on.”
Tamayo will stay with Matthew’s father, Rafael Farias, while she recovers.
“It’s a blessing she’s here, and I can see my son through her,” he said. “That’s my only child.”