On Sunday, Aug. 24th, the Franco family lost their 23-year-old daughter, Mariana, in a senseless attack in the City of San Fernando that was part of a murder spree that claimed the lives of two other people in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
Mariana, had special needs and the brutal attack upon this family shocked their friends and fellow parishioners at Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church in San Fernando, where the family was headed that day as usual to prepare for the 6:30 a.m. Sunday mass. The family previous residents of San Fernando, currently live in Sylmar.
“Everything that happened impacted all the people at the church. We couldn’t believe it,” said fellow parishioner Alejandra Sandoval.
The Franco family have been members of the Santa Rosa Church for 20 years. Jose and Beatriz served as Eucharist Ministers at the tightly knit parish that has been a center of their lives.
“The mass held the day after the shooting was very quiet, we were all very affected,” Sandoval said.
For three consecutive days, fellow parishioners gathered at the church to pray for Mariana and the recovery of her father, Jose, badly wounded in the shooting. They organized prayer chains.
It was just before 6 a.m. along the 1400 block of Celis Street in San Fernando when Jose Franco pulled over to let a car pass. The driver was swerving, driving erratically behind the family. But as Franco pulled over, the driver came alongside the car and opened fire on the family.
Mariana, who was sitting in the backseat behind her father, was shot and killed. She died at the scene. Jose was able to get out of the car and collapsed on the sidewalk after being hit several times. His son jumped out of the car and pleaded with him to get up. Franco’s wife Beatriz was also injured in the shooting.
A neighbor who came out of her house after shooting noted that the Francos used to live on the street where they were shot and often traveled along Celis on their way to church.
“The whole church is very sad. It’s something we didn’t expect to happen. This was the last family you’d think something like this could happen to,” said Sandoval,
“This was a family who was always helpful. When the church had its [fundraising] fiesta, they were the first to be there and the last to leave.”
Services for Mariana Pending
The Coroners office has not yet released Mariana’s body so services have not been scheduled. Compounding the family’s grief, Jose is still in the hospital. Initially listed in grave condition and in ICU with gunshot wounds to his neck and leg, Sandoval said he appears to be making progress.
“His brain is finally getting some oxygen,” she said.
Beatriz has been released from the hospital and in much better shape, apparently, after undergoing surgery.
“Mariana was the oldest daughter of the family,” said Sandoval, who described her as a “sweet and well behaved kid.” who was developmentally delayed.
Online Fundraiser for Franco Family
The online fundraising site set up for the family describes Mariana:
“For a family with faith and their guardian angel Marianita” reads at the top of the fundraising page at the site youcaring.com.
“With a loss in the Franco Family and both parents injured we would appreciate your help,” it also states, before giving some details about the shooting.
“On the way to Santa Rosa Church, the Franco Family was attacked by a truck that began shooting at the vehicle the family was in. This tragic incident took the life of Mariana which was a light to everyone around her and it put Jose’s and Beatriz’s life at risk. The twins that were also present didn’t experience any physical injuries but the emotional damage is great. Beatriz finds herself stable and awaiting a fast recovery. Jose is fighting for his life and we have faith that with your prayers and your support we will rise above these difficult times,”
To date, a total of 27 people have donated a little over $3,000 of the $20,000 goal that is being raised to assist the family.
If you would like to help the Franco family cover their medical expenses, please visit www.youcaring.com/familiafranco
There’s also a Chase bank account that has been set up for donations to the Franco family. The bank account number is: 629312823