Mother of 9-year-old boy killed in Madera tearfully pleads for shooter to come forward

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Devastated Madera mother Veronica San Juan said her young boy was caring, kind, and wanted to eventually play football. Now she's planning his funeral and begging for those responsible to come forward.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever gone through. I don't wish it upon nobody," said Veronica San Juan, Leonardo Morales' mother. "That's why whoever did this, I just want them to come forward."

In a tearful plea, she begged for justice after her 9-year-old son, Leonardo Morales, was murdered.

"I'm not going to hate them, cause I know my baby wouldn't have hated them either. I just want them to turn themselves in," said San Juan.

RELATED: 'Senseless act' leaves 9-year-old boy dead and his father hospitalized in Madera gang shooting

A display of balloons and candles has appeared along Olive and Tozar street near the scene of the shooting.

Madera Police are still looking for the suspect responsible for killing the boy and wounding his father.

"They took my baby. He was only 9-years-old. He was a kind, loving little boy. He always cared for everybody. He always gave what he had if someone needed it."

Police say the shooting was gang-related. They plan to amp up patrols while doing direct enforcement targeting gang members.

"We are upping the number of patrols, so we are more present. While we're investigating this crime we're trying to deter any potential retaliation or revenge," said Sgt. Mark Trukki, Madera Police.

Meanwhile, a mother is doing the unthinkable and picking out the headstone for her baby boy.

"I just wish the violence would stop. They shouldn't go after innocent people," said San Juan.

Leonardo Morales went to Chavez Elementary School in the Madera Unified School District. They have counselors available for students.

Anyone with information on who did this should call police and authorities say you can remain anonymous.
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