San Diego

Family Reacts to Suspect's Arrest in Deadly Church's Chicken Shooting

Ibañez’s husband said the arrest brought him peace of mind because there will be justice

The family of slain victim, Maribel Ibañez, spoke with NBC 7 about the recent arrest of the man charged with killing Ibanez and injuring two of her co-workers on Nov. 6.

Albert Lee Blake, 49, was arrested Friday at a home in Memphis, Tennessee, in an operation carried out by the U.S. Marshals Service. Blake is suspected of opening fire on three employees, including Ibañez, at the Church's Chicken in Otay Mesa.

Ibañez’s husband Ramon Mendoza said he had been waiting and was a little shocked to hear the news, and knew the authorities worked quickly.

He said the arrest brought him peace of mind because there will be justice, but nothing would bring her back.

"I miss my sister,” said Gabriela Merino, Ibañez’s older sister. "But nothing will bring her back. My mom has a broken heart too."

Merino said she was worried for the last couple weeks because law enforcement had not found who they believed was the killer.

"I was kind of scared because he was out there in the streets, and it probably could be someone else, you don't know," Merino added.

Ibañez worked for 12 years as a shift lead at the Otay Mesa Church's Chicken before Blake allegedly killed her after an altercation with staff over a counterfeit $100 bill. Her co-workers have said she was a good leader and was going to be promoted soon.

"She was with a big heart, always giving back to people," Merino said.

Merino said her family will follow the case closely to seek justice for Ibañez.

As Blake awaits extradition to San Diego, NBC 7 Investigates obtained court records outlining his criminal history that dates back at least 29 years.

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