Mother of teen shooting victim urges killers to surrender

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Jessica Romero watched her son, 17-year-old Ben die. He was shot to death outside the families apartment on Monday by two young men.

She says they'd had an argument, and appeared to have settled the dispute, but it wasn't over.

"They shook hands, turned around to go walk away, and just started blasting them. It sounded like 20 shots."

Ben was shot in the chest. A neighbor, Jesse Villanueva was also killed, protecting Jessica's 13-year-old grandson.

"He jumped in front of my grandson, and he took all the bullets, and my grandson is going through it; he feels he was at fault because Jesse jumped in front of him."

The 13-year-old was shot in the leg and remains hospitalized.

Jessica believes the killers were upset because they blamed an increased police presence in the area on Ben. Jessica says officers were frequently coming to her apartment where she lives with 7 of her 11 children.

Jessica insists Ben was not a troublemaker, "They kept saying he was a gang banger, I'm sorry, my son was not a gang banger. All he did was try to take care of us that's all my son tried to do."

Armando Alvarez has been helping Jessica deal with the loss. He is with the Restore Project, a faith-based group working in neighborhoods to try and stop gang violence.

"It's a common theme; everyone is dying for senseless reasons," said Alvarez.

Fresno Police believe they have solid information in the case.

At a news conference on Tuesday Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he was, "Very confident in our investigative leads and very confident we will be making an arrest very quickly."

Jessica Romero has a message for her son's killers, "Turn yourself in; you are not going to get away with this. One day you are going to have to pay."
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