WASHINGTON — A violent end to the month of February left three people dead in a string of shootings across the District.
Some of the youngest victims were Jamie Zelaya, 16, and his best friend Wilfredo Torres, 17, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.
MPD said that Zelaya and Torres were shot in a triple shooting Saturday evening in the 6000 block of 13th Street, NW.
The third victim in that shooting was Blanca Coreas, according to Coreas’ longtime boss Susan Limb.
Limb started a GoFundMe for Corcea, who she said worked at Praline Bakery for fourteen years.
“Blanca Coreas, a cherished member of the Praline Bakery, and her teenage son Jaime Zelaya, were victims of a shooting in Washington, D.C., on February 22 by an unknown assailant,” the GoFundMe created by Limb said.
“Tragically, Jaime died of his injuries, and Blanca is currently hospitalized in critical condition, with gunshot wounds to her feet, with the uncertainty of her ability to walk again,” the GoFundMe said.
Signs for the GoFundMe were put up in Praline Bakery. When some customers saw the signs, they leaned in closer and then got silent.
“This was like something that should not happen to somebody like her. It was just senseless. She didn't deserve this,” Limb said.
Some customers told WUSA9 she was always at the bakery and was shocked to learn she was a victim of gun violence.
“It should not have happened to this family. They're just hardworking people who don't deserve this,” Limb said.
The Zelaya family said on Monday she is in critical condition. D.C. Police said the shooting was not random, but they are still searching for the gunman and a motive.
“She talks about her son a lot. So I think this is gonna take a very long time I don't even know she's going to be able to recover from this,” Limb said.
"To be honest, it's a nightmare you can't wake up from," Zelaya's uncle said Monday, as he pointed to shattered glass. The uncle said of Zelaya and Torres were best friends.
Both of the teen’s schools released statements.
“As a school community, we are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our student Jaime Zelaya. Jaime was a wonderful young man, a dedicated athlete, and an amazing friend. Our entire school is heartbroken by his loss, and we are making every effort to support our students, staff, and families through this difficult time,” a statement from Paul Charter School said.
Torres’ school also issued a statement praising the student he was.
“The E.L. Haynes school community is mourning the loss of one of our students today. An E.L. Haynes senior, Wilfredo Torres was on track to graduate this spring and was an integral member of our high school community. Wilfredo was a beloved student, known as a thoughtful and generous friend. We remain concerned about the violence our students face in the neighborhood and will continue to work with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and community partners to support our students,” Hilary Darilek, Chief Executive Officer, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School said.
The teen's family insisted that the boys were good teens, who stayed out of trouble. Torres' mother spoke to WUSA9 with the help of an interpreter.
"I feel so bad. I tell parents to keep 'your sons in your home.' But in this case, they were in their home and it still happened," Lorena Leva said.
A D.C. police spokesperson said they have made progress in regard to all of the shootings that took place since Saturday.
"We recognize the concerns residents have when there is a shooting in their community," a spokesperson for DC Police said. "MPD is investigating these incidents and will pursue those responsible so they can be held accountable. We have deployed visible police patrols, engaged communities through outreach and will continue to work alongside our government partners to prevent and combat incidents of violence in our city. Removing illegal firearms in a safe and respectful manner will remain an agency priority."