Alex Garcia says his nerves are shot.
“I can’t stop walking, moving,” he confesses.
Garcia and his family were shocked and saddened when his cousin, a mother of two, was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend, Herbert Nixon Flores, in front of their three-year-old daughter on Jan. 6.
The violent attack captured on video happened as Ruiz was dropping the little girl off at the caretaker’s house. The video is “distressing to watch” and a “horrendous example” of a fatal obsession, domestic violence and criminal behavior that leaves two children without a loving mom, Garcia’s family members say.
Flores, 46, killed himself while being pursued by authorities in Texas on Jan. 9.
The Irving Police Department said Flores shot himself with a handgun in Irving, Texas, as officers were closing in on him.
The FBI office in Los Angeles said Flores was also known by the moniker “Shyboy,” and had ties to Arleta, Adelanto, Victorville and other cities.
Irving police said Flores was located in Arlington while visiting family there, and was followed after getting into a vehicle and heading toward Dallas.
“Flores’ movements were tracked until marked police cars were in the area,” police said on Jan. 9. “Flores realized that he was being followed, abandoned his vehicle, and began walking on foot.
“Once Flores saw marked police cars pulling up on him, he killed himself with one self-inflicted gunshot wound from a handgun he had on his person,” Irving police continued.
The news of Flores’ suicide was a “bittersweet” ending to the incident for Garcia.
“We wanted him to pay for it. One way or the other he’s paying for it. It’s good news in a way,” Garcia told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol newspaper during a telephone interview.
“A Beautiful Person”
Garcia said he and Ruiz grew up together in their native El Salvador. They both eventually came to the United States and had their own children. Ruiz sometimes even helped take care of Garcia’s kids.
“She was a beautiful person. She didn’t hurt anybody. She lived for her daughter and son. She never did anything bad,” he said.
Garcia last talked to Ruiz on her birthday, Dec. 25, when his children sang “Happy Birthday” to her on the phone.
When he received the call about her death about 30 minutes after it happened on Jan. 6, he couldn’t believe it.
Garcia has begun a GoFundMe (https://bit.ly/39kf59h) account to help Ruiz’ daughter, who is now living with her grandmother. Ruiz’ 14-year-old son from a previous relationship lives with his father.
“Karen’s world was work (as a housecleaner) and her kids and this man killed her because she didn’t want to be with him and now the girl is without a mom and dad,” says Garcia sadly.
“She wanted to separate from this guy. I guess he was obsessed with Karen. And he would rather hurt her or kill her because I guess that’s how he felt about it.”
“Threatened Before” by Flores
Nancy Jovel, another cousin who has also established a GoFundMe (https://bit.ly/38us88U) account, attests to Flores’ obsession and violent streak.
“He never left her alone,” said Jovel, who acted as mediator between the two after the separation. “He always kept bothering her.”
She said Ruiz and Flores had been friends for some time before they became a couple about four years ago.
But from the start, “he was always violent,” she notes.
After beating or mistreating her, Flores would tell Ruiz he would change. And she would accept him back, in part “because she had a good heart,” Jovel recalled. But “he was like a monster all the time.”
“She was always buying toys for her children. She was very humble. Everybody that met her loved her because of the way she was.”
Last July, Ruiz decided to separate from Ruiz after the continued abuse and filed a restraining order against him. But he would stalkher all the time, “almost every day,” Jovel said.
In fact, she said, Flores attacked Ruiz on Aug. 2 and tried to force her into his car to go somewhere else. But a friend of Ruiz who was with her prevented that.
“He was always threatening,” Jovel said. “She was always scared.”
Just days before her death, Jovel said, Flores told Ruiz “he had a nice gift for her.”
On Jan. 6, Jovel texted her as she often did. “[Ruiz] just said good morning. She never texted back,” Jovel said. Just before 10 a.m., Ruiz’ friend called her screaming, “She’s on the ground, dead.”
Police said Flores gunned down Ruiz as she dropped off her daughter at a friend’s house in the 9000 block of Bartee Avenue. Surveillance footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows Flores pulling up in front of a house as Ruiz gets out of an SUV.
Ruiz can be seen running toward the house screaming for help as Flores chases her and shoots her multiple times.
A crying child is heard in the video as Flores leaves the scene, while someone else from inside the home says, “He killed her.”
Police said Ruiz sustained multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
“She did not deserve a death like that,” Jovel said.
Even worse, Ruiz’ daughter witnessed the attack. “She tells you ‘mommy fell down and didn’t get up.’ It’s heartbreaking,” Jovel said.
She believes Flores was trying to flee to El Salvador when he committed suicide.
“I don’t wish that upon anybody but he deserves this and probably more than that,” Jovel said.
Both Garcia and Jovel say their cousin was the victim of domestic violence for years and they recommend to other women in the same situation to “leave.”
“If your partner disrespects you, hits you or things like that, it’s better to separate from that relationship. It can escalate to an accident,” Garcia said. “When one is upset — either the husband or the wife — and there’s a weapon, people don’t think of the consequences and either one can kill the other.”
“Leave before something terrible happens,” Jovel said succinctly. “We don’t deserve to be treated like that.”