Arrest made in shooting death of 9-year-old girl

Friday, January 30, 2015
Janessa Ramirez

FRESNO, Calif. -- Fresno, Calif., police have confirmed that an arrest has been made in the shooting death of Janessa Ramirez, 9.

Janessa was shot outside a laundromat in West Central Fresno January 18 in the area of Clinton and Marks. Police say the little girl was standing with her mother in front of the laundromat when someone drove by and opened fire. Janessa was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno where she died a short time later.

Family members remember Janessa as a girl with a kind heart and a strong faith in God.

"The color out of her face went, like, quickly," said Joann DeLeon, a family friend. "Her lips turned blue."

DeLeon witnessed the shooting. She's a relative who ran into Janessa and her mother that night. They were catching up outside the laundromat when they heard gunshots.

"It hit Janessa," DeLeon said. "She was standing right here and it kinda hit her pretty hard. It was like uhh. She bounced back."

DeLeon says before Janessa appeared to go into shock, she said her stomach burned and her back hurt.

"She woke up one more time, for a quick second looking at her mom, her mom goes 'You're going to be OK. I love you, baby,'" DeLeon said. "And she goes 'I love you mom.' That was it. Her breath got shallow, more and more shallow by the time she got to the ambulance."

Investigators scoured the area for evidence. Detectives say the bullet that killed her was fired from about 300 yards away when two groups started shooting at each other.

Detectives went door to door at a nearby apartment complex the next day. At the family's church in Central Fresno, several dozen relatives and friends gathered to pray and remember Janessa.

"I just hope whoever took her... they have the courage to turn themselves in," said Nancy Alejandrez.

"She was still single-digit age, 9 years old," said Janessa's great uncle George Gonzales.

Their pastor says Janessa loved Christ and was always showing her family and the church how much she loved them. He and the church hold nothing against the shooters.

"What I do is pray for them because they don't know the status of their souls, how depraved they are, because they're walking in the wrong path," said Pastor Douglas Knox, Jr.