'She didn't know any better': Man grieving beloved cousin shot, killed in neighbor dispute

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – Robert Benitez is grieving his beloved cousin, Marcelina Torres, 62, who was the victim of a fatal shooting Wednesday.

The shooting happened in the 6500 block of Waterfall on the Northeast Side, where Torres lived with Benitez's family.

“She was mentally ill, didn’t have no reason to get shot or anything. She didn’t know any better," Benitez said.

Benitez said the problems with the suspect, Juan Vasquez, who lives across the street, had been going on for a few months. It started over petty things like yard decorations.  

Benitez said he had tried to make peace with Vasquez.  

“I spoke to him. I said, 'Hey, what’s bothering you? Why is this bothering you?'” he said.

Benitez said Wednesday’s shooting came out of nowhere as they were getting ready to leave the house. 

“I see the man yelling, and he has a gun,” he said.

Benitez said he tried to get the Vasquez away from his wife as she ran to a neighbor’s house for help. He heard more than a dozen shots fired, some of them at him.

“I was fearing for my life. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have no weapons. All I had was a bottle of water,” he said.

Vasquez was arrested on suspicion of murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Court records show he was arrested in 1976 for DWI.

Benitez said after five years, he’s moving out of his home, fearing the Vasquez family. One of the family members, he said, is a law enforcement officer.

“The daughter didn’t do anything about her father, as a police officer, didn’t do nothing about her father having a weapon, knowing that he had mental issues," Benitez said.

Torres leaves behind a daughter. Benitez said she lived with his family and helped him raise his seven children. Her funeral arrangements are pending.

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