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By Bob Uphues
Honorio Perez, 49, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his estranged wife, 42-year-old Maria Ruiz, on Jan. 13 in the parking lot of the North Riverside Park Mall.
In addition, Perez faces a felony charge of aggravated battery with a firearm for wounding Ruiz's 14-year-old daughter. Perez is the girl's father, according to police. Perez and Ruiz were married but separated at the time of the shooting, police said.
Perez, who remains in North Riverside police custody, will appear in bond court on Wednesday at the Maybrook courthouse.
According to police, Ruiz, her daughter and another 14-year old girl had been shopping at the mall, 7501 Cermak Road, and had gotten into Ruiz's 2003 Buick Rendezvous at about 5:45 p.m. when shots rang out.
Multiple rounds struck Ruiz, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. One round struck Ruiz's daughter in the left arm. She was treated at Loyola University Medical Center and later released. Ruiz was pronounced dead at Loyola at 6:24 p.m.
The other teenage girl, who was not injured, told police she was sitting the back seat and ducked down when she heard the gunshots. Police also reported that the passenger side window of a Volkswagen Jetta parked next to the Buick was shattered.
Perez reportedly fled the scene before police arrived.
Chicago police notified North Riverside on Monday afternoon that they had apprehended Perez. It is not clear where the apprehension took place. The suspect was in North Riverside's custody by Monday night. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office approved the charges Tuesday afternoon.
In the meantime, hundreds of people have donated thousands of dollars to offset the cost of funeral expenses for Ruiz.
A day after the shooting, someone identifying himself as Ruiz's 19-year-old son, Jose Noel, created an account on the fundraising website GoFundMe, asking people to donate money to pay for funeral and memorial expenses.
The account sought to raise $10,000. That amount was eclipsed Sunday night and by Tuesday afternoon more than $26,000 had been raised through more than 800 donations, most averaging around $30 each.
On the morning of Jan. 16, the North Riverside Park Mall donated $2,000 to the fundraising campaign.
Jose Noel Ruiz stated on the page that his 14-year-old sister had been wounded in the arm. He also revealed he had a 9-year-old brother. All of the siblings, he said, "are left without a mother and a father."
Attempts to reach the Ruiz family and officials at the North Riverside Park Mall were unsuccessful.