‘Beautiful, young, always smiling;’ woman killed by stray gunfire in Downtown was out with friends

A 24-year-old Long Beach woman was spending time with friends this weekend when gunfire, prompted by an argument she had nothing to do with, claimed her life in Downtown, according to her family and co-workers.

Anna Perez was headed to her car so she could go home after a night out when she was killed, according to her aunt Jessica Hernandez.

“Anna was a beautiful, young, always smiling person,” friend Katie Michelle Sayre said.

Police said Perez was near Pacific Avenue and Fourth Street when the shooting erupted around 2 a.m. Saturday.

The shots were the result of an argument between two groups of people in a parking lot at that corner, according to police. Perez wasn’t a part of either group, but the gunfire ended up hitting her in the upper torso, killing her, authorities said.

“My understanding is she went out with friends and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said a co-worker of Perez’s who asked not to be identified because he didn’t have permission from his employer to talk about what happened.

Perez worked as a caretaker at a senior-living home in La Palma, according to her friends.

“Everybody in the company’s really broken,” the co-worker said.

A fundraiser asked for help covering funeral expenses and other costs for Perez’s parents and grandparents.

“She was so full of life and still had so much to live for,” the fundraiser description said. “Everyone knew Anna was loud and crazy, but that was her! We loved her that way.”

Hernandez said Perez was flamboyant and loved to make people laugh. She had a knack for endearing herself to people after even just a single conversation.

“I think it made her feel good that she could bring them such joy and happiness,” Hernandez said.

Police haven’t announced any suspects or arrests, and few details about the gunman were available. Police said he drove off in an unknown color sedan after the shooting.

The two groups of people arguing included both men and women, police said, but it wasn’t clear what they were arguing about.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.
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