The deadly shooting happened early Thursday morning at a home on Arthur and McKinley in Central Fresno.
Investigators say the 29-year-old shot his mother at the home, then walked six blocks to the 7-11 on Palm and confessed what he'd done to a clerk. After that, he just waited for police to arrest him.
A gloom set in on the Valencia family Thursday morning. Police found Sylvia, the oldest of five siblings, murdered in her home.
"She was my big sister," said Gabriel Valencia, the youngest sibling. "I'm going to miss her very much."
Gabriel Valencia came to mourn with his family and tie up his sister's affairs. He says Sylvia carried her Bible with her everywhere and family members removed that Bible from the scene of the crime. They'll be leaning heavily on faith as they try to understand what led up to the deadly shooting and the shocking arrest.
"This was just totally something I couldn't even imagine happening," Gabriel Valencia said.
"It's rare that we see a mother have her life taken at the hand of her son," said Fresno police Sgt. Dave Ramos.
Police arrested Javier Sanchez for his mother's murder. They say he has very little criminal history and no history of violence. But investigators say he confessed to the shooting. He lived in the home with his mother and said he shot her in the heat of an argument.
Neighbors say the image of Sylvia watering her lawn just hours earlier will be hard to shake.
"When you see somebody and then know something's happened to them that quickly, it gets you," said neighbor Susan Wichman.
Gabriel Valencia says his sister loved life, and he's hoping her death will serve as a cautionary tale for people living through tough times.
"I just wish people that have emotional stress on their lives can seek help and not have anything like this happen to their family," he said.
Police questioned Sanchez for much of the morning, but by Thursday night he was booked in the Fresno County jail on murder charges.