‘She was a gift’: Mother honors memory of daughter killed in ambush shooting

Shaniqua Brown was hoping to open her own center dedicated to helping at-risk children before she was killed

San Antonio – A San Antonio mother is devastated nearly two years after losing her daughter, who she considered her closest friend, in a shooting.

Alberta Rutland is the mother of Shaniqua Brown, 29, who died after being shot when the car she was sitting in outside her townhome was ambushed on July 12, 2020.

“We were actually living together,” Rutland said. “We’ve been living together since her stepfather passed away. She was the person who helped me through that loss. We were at home when we heard the shots. Her son actually saw the person but as just a dark figure as he crawled up to his top bunk.”

San Antonio police said Brown was sitting in her car with her husband when a suspect pulled up in a dark-colored car. The suspect got out and fired several shots at the vehicle, hitting Brown before getting back in the car with another suspect who was driving.

“It hurts because they don’t know the impact this has left on the entire family,” Rutland said.

“Not only was she murdered. She was killed on her brother’s birthday, so now it is a constant reminder every time he has a birthday that his sister was killed,” she said as she wept.

Rutland said there are many things she misses about her daughter.

“We would watch movies together and mock what they were saying,” Rutland said as she became emotional. “I miss hugging her. I miss being able to call her. I miss putting my arms around her and rocking with her. We were really close. We would hold hands in the grocery store.”

Rutland said her daughter was an amazing mother to two young children she leaves behind. She said her daughter had a passion for helping at-risk children and hoped to open her own center one day.

“She was a gift from God,” Rutland said. “She was always trying to make people laugh. She loved helping people who was less fortunate, so she had a real good heart. She knew what bullying and some of the heartaches that teenagers and youngers face. She wanted to try to help them that is why she was such an influence at the Hector Garza Center where she worked.”

Rutland said it has been a struggle getting through life without Brown, but she’s grown stronger in her faith.

“We have been able to make it because we have a strong spiritual base,” she said. “That is helping a lot talking with my pastor and praying. The kids are enrolled in a Christian school, which has helped a lot. My grandson sees a counselor, and I see one too, so we try to keep reaching out to people when we need to talk. We have a real close family making sure the kids know they are still loved, so we have a strong support system.”

Rutland said her biggest mission now is to make sure her grandchildren have an excellent quality of life while she continues to seek justice for her daughter.

“We don’t have the right to take another human’s life,” Rutland said. “God didn’t give us that right. In the end, we can run from justice on Earth, but people have to remember your day is coming. May not be on Earth, but in the end, God will take care of it all.”

SAPD is asking anyone who can identify the dark-colored car or the suspects in the surveillance footage they released to call Crimestoppers at 210-224-7867 (STOP).

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.