A woman was shot and killed by a stray bullet while driving in Escondido and police are now saying it appears the woman was caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting.
Escondido police have identified the woman killed while driving on Grand Avenue as 55-year Escondido resident Catherine Kennedy.
Kennedy was driving east on Grand Avenue Tuesday around 9 p.m., when she was struck by a stray bullet, causing her to lose control of the car and crash into an unoccupied, parked vehicle, police said.
“This was an innocent victim driving down the street we believe coming home from a church function and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Escondido Lt. Justin Murphy.
Police said gang members were shooting at each other in the 1800 block of E. Grand Avenue.
Kennedy was shot once in the head.
Barbara Allen was in bed when she heard noises.
“I heard four shots. I heard, ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom’ and a crash,” she said.
Allen said she ran out of her house barefoot and talked with the woman before the ambulance arrived.
Kennedy was taken to Palomar Hospital where she died just an hour later. No one else was in the car.
Murphy said in his 19 years with the department, he has never seen a shooting like this before.
“We generally have a gang problem but I would not say it’s this kind of violence that we’re used to seeing in Escondido," he said. "This is certainly outside of the norm for what we generally see on a daily or weekly basis in Escondido. It’s not something we’re used to seeing.”
Veronica Urrutia lives near where the shooting took place but was not at home at the time.
Urrutia said there has been gang violence in the area but she’s never heard of shooting from a vehicle.
“That’s so sad. Innocent people just dying like that I think is just sad,” she said.
Allen has lived in the same apartment for seven years and said the violence has increased over the last year.
“It’s gotten ridiculous on the street,” Allen said.
“What do you do,” she asked.
Grand Avenue between Rose Street and Midway Drive was expected to be closed while police investigate.
The suspects have not been identified yet. Escondido police have asked the public for help to solve the crime.