Shots fired into west Toledo home of Puerto Rican refugees

Shots fired into west Toledo home of Puerto Rican refugees

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Disaster struck in a West Toledo home late last night in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity.

The family living at the home just narrowly escaped another disaster. They are refugees who moved to Toledo from Puerto Rico to escape the ruins of Hurricane Maria that just struck their hometown.

Their new home is on a quiet, no outlet street, where most residents have lived for decades. Despite just having moved in, the house is decorated in anticipation of the great-grandparents of the school-aged children to move here as well, excited to celebrate their first Christmas in Toledo.

Around 10:30 Thursday night, about half an hour after everyone went to sleep, loud pops and crashes woke the family up.

Mariel Orona explained why she reached out to neighbors.

"We need to spread the voice that it's not any gang related. We just came from Puerto Rico two days ago," Orona said.

Carmen Rivera along with her son and grandchildren moved here from Puerto Rico as refugees looking for a better life amidst the chaos following Hurricane Maria.

"They don't even speak the language," Orona  said. "They don't know anybody here and we just wanted a better life and a better Christmas this year."

Her daughter, Mariel, along with her husband and children have been Toledo residents for five years and are proud to be living the American Dream. The idea behind moving the rest of the family here was to be in a safer place with better opportunities.

Carmen is a retired police officer, who spent her career in extremely dangerous areas, but where nothing like this ever stuck so close to home.

Fortunately, surveillance cameras were rolling and recorded the incident as it happened.

The footage appears to show two suspects on foot and five audible shots being fired at the residence.

Rivera says the family had just left the room where this happened to go to bed. Her granddaughter was lying on the couch in front of the window minutes earlier. Had the timing of the perpetrators been different, this already sad event could have been an even bigger tragedy.

Rivera says she was pleased with the diligent work of Toledo Police and convinced they would find those responsible.

"The police found fragments of bullets and took evidence," Rivera said.

The family suspects that the target of this violence was a previous tenant.

They also posted the Puerto Rican flag, near the bullet holes in the front of the home, to signify that they are not a part of any gangs.

If you know anything, please call Crime Stopper at 419-255-1111.

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