By Peter D'Oench


MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The family of a woman who died after being shot while driving on I-95 wants her killer brought to justice.

Melissa Gonzalez, 22, and her boyfriend Julian Veliz Cortina, 26, were in the southbound lanes of the highway last Friday around 8:30 p.m. when suddenly the passenger side window of their silver Chevrolet sedan broke near NW 79th Street.

Cortina, who was in the passenger seat, said at the time he heard gunfire. When looked over to see if Gonzalez was okay, he realized that she had been shot. He immediately grabbed the steering wheel, took control of the car, then jumped out of it and ran to the shoulder where he called for help. The car came to rest on the shoulder.

Gonzalez was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where she died.

Melissa Gonzalez, 22, died when she was struck by a stray bullet on I-95. (Courtesy of Melissa Gonzalez’s family)

In an emotional plea at Miami-Dade police headquarters, Gonzalez’s mother, Sheilla Nunes, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench “ please come forward if you know anything. Please, anything you know.”

“I will never be happy again. She was a wonderful child, this is her boyfriend sitting beside me, her first boyfriend. She just graduated from FIU, what she wanted to do was study. Here’s a photo of her, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” said Nunes through tears.

Veliz also wept and said, “please anyone who can help us with this please come forward.”

Gonzalez was a graduate from Florida International University and an aspiring lawyer.

Cortina, who was not injured in the shooting, told investigators the shots came from a dark-colored vehicle.

FHP investigators have ruled out the possibility of road rage.

Miami-Dade police detective Juan Segovia revealed there is new information in this case. He showed CBS4 a photo of a dark-colored four-door vehicle with dark rims that was seen near the crime scene.

“We have no motive. We have no suspects. This is a fact-gathering mission. There is no doubt there are people out there with information. This is a populated area. Somebody out there knows who committed this heinous crime and we hope they will come forward this is your chance to be a hero,” he said. “If you are a human being please help. We are talking about a young girl who is going to see her grandfather who is ill and who winds up getting shot and what happened to her was disgusting. If this does not move you nothing else will.”

Gonzalez’s father lives in Cuba. Senator Marco Rubio is helping the family with a humanitarian visa application so he can come to South Florida to attend her funeral.

Anyone with information should call Miami Dade Crime Stoppers At (305) 471-TIPS (8477). There is a reward of up to $3000.

Peter D'Oench

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