Melissa Gonzalez was a 22-year-old recent Florida International University graduate who was shot dead while driving her car on Interstate 95 near Miami, authorities say. No suspects have been arrested in the Friday, January 3, 2020, shooting. Gonzalez was driving with her boyfriend when she was shot in the head, according to police.
Gonzalez’s boyfriend, Julian Veliz, told investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol that he heard gunshots and then looked over to see that his girlfriend had been shot. He jumped out of the moving car and ran to the shoulder of the highway to call for help.
Here’s what you need to know about Melissa Gonzalez and the fatal shooting:
Melissa Gonzalez’s Boyfriend Told Police the Shots Came From a Dark-Colored Car & Police Say There Have Been a Series of Random Shootings on the Interstate in Recent Weeks
Melissa Gonzalez was driving on I-95 southbound in the highway’s express lanes in Northwest Miami-Dade County on Friday, January 3, about 8:30 p.m. when she was shot, police said in a news release. The shooting happened near the Northwest 79th Street exit, according to a statement from the Florida Highway Patrol. The City of Miami Fire Rescue responded and Gonzalez was taken to Ryder Trauma Center, where she died, police said.
Gonzalez’s boyfriend told police the shots came from a dark-colored car. Police said they are investigating to determine if it was a road rage incident, a random, but targeted, shooting or a stray bullet. There have been random shootings on the interstate in the Miami area in recent weeks, according to news reports.
The Florida Highway Patrol said on January 2 that someone had been shooting at cars on several interstates in three counties, including near Miami, and in Volusia County, according to WFOR-TV. No one had been seriously hurt in those shootings, the news station reported. It is not clear if those incidents are connected to Gonzalez’s shooting death.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A $1,000 reward is available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Calls and tips can be made anonymously, police said.
Gonzalez Graduated From FIU in July & Was Planning to Go to Law School
Melissa Gonzalez would have turned 23 later in January. She graduated from Florida International University in July 2019, according to her Instagram page. Her mother, Sheilla Nunez, told WTVJ-TV that her daughter was planning to take the LSAT exam this month and wanted to go to law school to become a lawyer.
“Someone unjustly took away her life and shot her. At this moment, I don’t know why,” her mother told WFOR-TV.
According to her Facebook profile, Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba, and lived in Miami Beach, Florida.
Friends paid tribute to her on Instagram. One wrote, “I’m so sorry that this happened to you… I’m still in complete shock and I cant believe you’re gone… rest in peace Melissa, I will cherish every moment I spent with you.”
Another wrote, “Love to ur family, little sister and boyfriend on this difficult time. ur smile will be missed Meli.” Another one of Gonzalez’s friends said, “can’t believe this :( I will miss you Melissa I hope you’re in a better place better than this we call life . I send prayers to your family ? you’re an angel that will be missed ♥️ enjoy your after life where you’re an angel that shines.”
Melissa Gonzalez Moved to the US From Cuba When She Was 4 & Her Family Is Trying to Get a Humanitarian Visa for Her Father So He Can Attend Her Funeral
Melissa Gonzalez immigrated to the United States from Cuba when she wa sa child. Her mother, Shiella Nunez, told WFOR, “I brought her from Cuba when she was 4 years old and everything that I did, I did it for her.”
According to WFOR, Gonzalez’s family is trying to get a humanitarian visa for her father so he can come to Florida for her funeral. Photos on Gonzalez’s Instagram page show that she made a trip last year to Cuba to visit her father and other family members.
She and her boyfriend, also a native of Cuba, had been dating for a little more than a year. She posted on Instagram on their anniversary last year and wrote, ” I love u soooo much and I am so thankful God put u in my life when I needed u the most. I guess its true what they say “good things come to those who wait”? Thank you for always being so caring, loving, understanding, and a real man. Te amo.”
Julian Veliz responded, “the love of my life. Te amo.”
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