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They lovingly called her 'mom.' Now, a community is mourning after she was shot in front of her kids

Posted at 9:28 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 23:28:36-05

BALTIMORE — A memorial for 36-year-old Carmen Rodriguez continues to grow outside the family deli in Baltimore.

Neighbors lovingly called her "Mom," saying she was a staple in the community. Working at the deli, she touched so many.

"She was always there for me when I didn't have no one else to turn to," said her neighbor, Christina.

A mother to four children, family friend Nidal Alshalabi said she sometimes worked 16-hour shifts to provide for them.

"She's a very good woman. She's a very hard worker. She had been trying hard since she got to the states for the past 11 years to reach her dream to save her kids futures and to make it happen," Alshalabi said.

And Sunday evening, while at work, she was shot in the head.

"In cold blood, some random guy just walked in, robbed her and shot her in the head," Alshalabi said.

Alshalabi said her family is torn apart. Her four children, including her newborn baby, were next to her when she was murdered.

"Thank God the kids survived and thank God their dad is here for them and I'm so, so, so sorry for her," Alshalabi said.

Rodriguez's family has owned Kim Deli and Grocery for 10 years and Alshalabi said she has worked there for at least five years.

The whole neighborhood is grieving. The neighborhood was hit not once, not twice, but three times over the weekend. In 24 hours, three people were murdered within a quarter mile of Southeast Baltimore, just north of Patterson Park.

"This is our community and when things happen in our community, we don't turn a blind eye to them. When someone gets hurt, we all feel hurt," said Hansoo Jin, pastor of nearby Harris Creek Community Church.

"Justice is needed," Alshalabi said. "As much as we need air, water, food and clothes and everything, justice is needed before anything else."

This story was originally published by Abby Isaacs on WMAR.