Woman killed in San Jacinto double-shooting remembered as beautiful, amazing person
If you ask Veronica Valenzuela about her niece, she is quick to tell you the young woman is not a typical 19-year-old.
The Mt. San Jacinto College student worked three jobs — one of which involved helping the elderly — and was seriously starting to put emphasis on her burgeoning mixed martial arts career.
But that potential was cut short by a bullet when Lauren Lopez and a friend were found fatally shot in a vehicle in San Jacinto on Wednesday morning. A man was also found shot dead with Lopez.
“My niece, Lauren, was a bright beautiful young woman with a amazing future ahead of her,” Valenzuela said. “My beautiful niece was an amazing soul with an infectious personality and smile that will be greatly missed.”
Valenzuela, who is the sister of Lopez’s mother, says the death of the bright and cheerful 19-year-old San Jacinto woman has knocked the life out of the close-knit family.
“Our hearts are beyond broken and we are seeking any answers,” she said, adding that Lopez was a “good girl” and wasn’t involved in anything questionable.
Images from the scene shows a small Chevrolet hatchback with its back window shattered by what appear to be multiple bullet holes, sitting in a ditch near Ramona Expressway and North Warren Road, according to Riverside County sheriff’s officials.
The identity of the man Lopez was found dead with has not been released, although Lopez’s family say he was a friend of the 19-year-old.
Valenzuela lit up when discussing all the positive things Lopez was doing shortly before her death.
The 19-year-old had recently visited New York, where she was looking to pursue her MMA career, Valenzuela said. Lopez was good enough that she was a trainer at Team Quest Athletic Center in San Jacinto, where the diminutive Lopez held her own among larger athletes.