Family of Woman Killed in Gang Shooting Speaks Out For First Time

Catherine Kennedy was killed last week when a stray bullet struck her as she was driving in Escondido

Family members spoke publicly for the first time about the 55-year-old Escondido church volunteer killed in a gang shooting.

Catherine Kennedy's mother, husband, and daughter were among the crowd of more than 200 people who gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil at Escondido City Hall.

There was a lot of talk about loss and sadness, but also about the impact of Catherine's life and death.

Her partner in good deeds was her husband and church music director, Kevin Kennedy.

"We were good partners, we did good stuff together but I think she was a bigger driving force for the gospel than I will ever be,” he said.

In the faces of mourners, Kevin said he saw what his late wife meant to them.

“She was one of the most beautiful people you would ever want to meet,” he told NBC 7.

Catherine led the children's programs at the Church of St. Timothy's. Most said it was her greatest passion and true calling.

"Every time we would be around Cathy, we would say there goes a model of Christianity in action, there she is doing what she does so well,” St. Mary’s  Church Deacon Mitch Rennix told the crowd.

It was just after leaving a confirmation class last Tuesday night that Catherine was shot and killed.

A stray bullet from a gang shooting pierced her skull as she was driving on Grand Avenue. She lost control of her car and crashed into another vehicle.

She later died at the hospital.

"I do not forgive. I can not turn the other cheek,” her mother, Marie Mendoza said.

“If they are out there, I ask them to see the priest," she said. "Let God forgive them."

But while others struggled for understanding and justice, Kevin said he does not.

“God is God and I am not God. I don't second guess God and I don't even try to come up with reasons,” he said.

Catherine's daughter, Alicia, also attended the vigil. She and the rest of the Kennedy family took comfort in the arms of friends and complete strangers.

Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter said investigators are starting to craft a case but while leads have been steady, they have not yet resulted in an arrest.

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