AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department said the man who shot and killed the mother of his children before turning the gun on himself was in the U.S. illegally.
Felix Barron was convicted of inappropriately touching a 10-year old girl at Allison Elementary School in 2016.
He was subsequently deported.
First responders found Barron, 43, and Veneranda Martinez, 36, dead at the Valero gas station at 6300 block of E. Riverside Drive, near Montopolis Drive.
Austin-Travis County EMS pronounced both dead at 5:45 a.m on Friday.
Police say Barron shot Martinez several times as she sat in her car Friday morning. He then walked to the front of the car before shooting and killing himself.
Their three children were in the car and watched the shooting happen.
They were unharmed, and police believe only Martinez was the target.
“Everybody just shut down,” said Itzel Garcia, a close family friend and neighbor. “We all cried. She didn’t deserve it.”
Garcia says the children told her everything.
“She tried telling him, ‘Papi, don’t do this,’ but he wouldn’t listen,” Garcia told KXAN. “They tried defending their mom, and it got to the point where she just collapsed on her daughter’s lap.”
This story began long before its tragic ending.
Despite being deported, police say Barron illegally re-entered the U.S. within the last few months.
Garcia says he would continue to stalk and harass the mother of his children, both in person and online.
“My mom would always call her morning and night, telling her good morning, close your doors, stay safe,” she said.
Garcia tells KXAN her family tried to help Martinez protect herself, and that Martinez feared for her own safety.
“So many times we filed police reports, trying to let them know there was proof that she was getting stalked, getting accused,” she said.
Martinez and Barron had a pending child custody case. The three children are now staying with other family members, having lost their parents just three weeks before Christmas.
Family friends have set up a GoFundMe to help support her three children and any funeral expenses. That link can be found here.