OAKLAND (KPIX) — A young mother who was shot dead Thursday morning while riding in an SUV on Interstate 80 approaching the Bay Bridge was headed into San Francisco for a job interview, KPIX has learned.
The California Highway Patrol said dispatchers received a call at about 9:12 a.m. of a freeway shooting on I-80 in Oakland.
The woman, Amani Morris, age 29, was the passenger in a Buick Rendezvous SUV driven by her fiance. Her two sons, ages 3 and 5 were in the back seat. They were east of West Grand Avenue, approaching the toll plaza, when their vehicle was struck by gunfire.
“I talked to my daughter 20 minutes before it happened!” said Alicia Benton, Morris’ mother, in a phone interview with KPIX.
“[Morris] was on her way to an interview and she was excited and she goes ‘OK mommy … I’ll call you when it’s over!’ And I’ll never get that call,” Benton recalled.
Benton is still in shock. She lives in Georgia and was flying to the Bay Area Friday night.
“This is still a fog. I keep wanting to wake up from this nightmare,” she said. “The only saving grace is that my grandkids were unscathed, they were not physically hurt but, mentally, they’ll never be the same.”
Was the shooting targeted or was the victim caught in the crossfire?
Morris’s fiancé told KPIX over the phone he didn’t know. He doesn’t think it was a case of road rage. He said he was driving and suddenly heard gunshots.
“The oldest boy said ‘What happened to mommy?’ My son said when he turned his head and looked, he saw her (slumped over),” said Judy Holoman, mother of Morris’s fiance.
Holoman said Morris was bleeding from the head and she died at the scene. The CHP say there have been at least 77 freeway shootings in Alameda County in the last 12 months.
Two weeks ago, a stray bullet from a gun battle on I-880 in Oakland killed 23-month-old Jasper Wu.
“I’m lost. I don’t know. I need answers and the investigators aren’t giving me answers,” Benton said.
Loved ones are pleading with witnesses to come forward.
In the meantime, they want people to remember Morris as a caring person.
“She was a great person. She was a giver. She was happy. She smiled and laughed all the time. She loved — loved! — her children,” Holoman said.
“My grandsons knew that their mom loved them but they will never understand the greatness of who she was. The world has lost a light due to someone’s stupid, careless violent act,” Benton said.
The CHP declined an interview request and did not release new information. They said doing so could jeopardize their investigation.