Dying mother’s final act was to hold her baby one last time

Victoria DeLeon, top left, and her five children, with their father, Antonio Sanchez, top right.
Victoria DeLeon, top left, and her five children, with their father, Antonio Sanchez, top right. Courtesy

A 22-year-old mother of five killed early Saturday in a drive-by shooting was struck in the side by a bullet that bounced off her baby’s crib, said Josie DeLeon, the woman’s mother.

Victoria DeLeon was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital but died just after 3:15 a.m. from gunshot wounds to her chest and abdomen, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. Police found DeLeon inside her home and MedStar transported her to JPS.

Neighbors said they heard between three and five shots in the early morning hours and ran to get their children from bed to protect them from the gunfire outside in the 2700 block of Burchill Road.

“Once she got shot, she rose up and grabbed the baby,” Josie DeLeon said. “She held the [1-year-old] baby until they came for her.”

Fort Worth police responded to a shooting call made by one of Victoria DeLeon’s relatives just before 3 a.m., according to a police call log.

“She got hit by two bullets,” Josie DeLeon said. “One went through the air conditioning unit and hit her in the chest and the other ricocheted off the baby’s crib and hit her in the side.”

The 1-year-old is the youngest of Victoria DeLeon’s five children, her mother said. Relatives are helping care for the children while she makes arrangements to file guardianship paperwork, Josie DeLeon said.

“I don’t think this was intended for her,” Josie DeLeon said of the shooting. “I think there had been some stuff going on in the neighborhood and that she was the one who got hit.”

The house had been shot at a few weeks ago, Josie DeLeon said. Relatives said they don’t know who shot at the house, or why, Josie DeLeon said.

“She did whatever she could for her babies,” Josie DeLeon said. “She loved a lot of people and a lot of people loved her. She didn’t deserve this.”

One neighbor, who requested anonymity in fear of retaliation, said it was a sad situation. The neighbor, who moved to the area two years ago, said the first year was quiet but that this year was not, citing three separate incidents of shots fired in the past 12 months.

“She seemed like she was the innocent person in this,” the neighbor said. “But something like this was bound to happen.”

Homicide detectives investigating the shooting are not sure why someone shot at the house, according to Daniel Segura, police spokesman. No one was in police custody in connection with the shooting Saturday.

FOX 4 reported that police found several bullet casings outside of DeLeon’s home.

Fort Worth Police and the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office are looking for these 10 fugitives. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Call 817-469-8477.

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667, @MCTinez817

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752; @mitchmitchel3