SAN ANTONIO – The sister of a woman killed in a murder-suicide two days after Christmas said that she is still numb from the shocking incident.
On Saturday, Nova Vela drove from Lockhart to San Antonio to be with other family members at a plate sale to raise money for the four children of 46-year-old Linda Vela, who was killed Dec. 27 at her home in the 5000 block of Sunset Glade.
As more than a dozen volunteers handed out $7 hamburger plates, Nova reflected on the help her family has received.
"People (have messaged) me on Facebook, reaching out and telling me, 'I knew your sister. She was beautiful. She was awesome.' I don't even know these people," Vela said.
She said life hasn't been easy since the murder-suicide.
"My heart goes out to my nieces and my nephews. I just, I'm broken. I'm still broken," she said.
Police said Mark Espinosa, 48, fatally shot Linda Vela and then turned the gun on himself.
Family members at the fundraiser said Espinosa was an acquaintance who wanted a relationship with Linda Vela. Earlier reports said Espinosa was an ex-boyfriend.
Linda Vela's 10 and 14-year-old sons were home when the shootings happened, but they weren't hurt.
The murder victim's 24-year-old daughter and her 23-year-old boyfriend are raising the two boys and Linda's 12-year-old daughter.
Within three days of the shootings, they moved from a one-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom to welcome her three younger siblings.
"These kid's lives aren't going to stop. They're going to continue to move forward, and we want to be able to continue to give them the lives they were living prior," said Javier Muniz, Nora Vela's boyfriend.
The food for the plate sale was donated, so was a picnic table and a custom-made free-standing bar top that were being offered as raffle prizes.
An organizer said $7,617 was raised during the seven hours of selling plates.
"Clothes for the kids, for school...groceries," Muniz said on how the money will be used.
Baseball teammates of Linda Vela's youngest son showed up to offer their support.
"We came to make sure he didn't feel like anything happened," said Blake Ott, a teammate.