CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In an exclusive interview with 19 News, a woman described the devastating day she saw her boyfriend take a bullet.
Police say he was shot by a 70-year-old veteran he helped out of homelessness.
The vet then initiated a SWAT standoff, barricading himself and a 12 year old girl in the apartment, before taking his own life.
The 12-year-old made it out safely, but not until after both men were dying of a gunshot wound.
Gibriella Miranda was in the room Sunday night when a family friend shot her boyfriend, Dalion Mendoza
“I’d never heard one in close radius before,” Miranda said. “My ears were ringing, I was deaf, and in that moment I saw him hit the ground and grab his stomach and his face hurt.”
She says the veteran who pulled the trigger had been living on the streets before Mendoza took him in.
“He was just like any old man--grumpy old man. He’d have good days, he’d have bad days,” Miranda said.
She never suspected he was capable of taking a life, though.
When he fired at Mendoza, Miranda ran outside.
Her daughter was still inside though when the suspect locked the door.
That triggered a dangerous SWAT situation and blocked paramedics from getting in to help Mendoza.
“EMS could have helped him,” she said. “He wouldn’t have been bleeding on the floor for 45 minutes.”
Miranda says Mendoza was also the father to her 4-year old son.
“He was such a good-hearted person, and he didn’t deserve this,” she said. “You can’t help anybody.”
Now, she needs help, though.
Their apartment is still considered a crime scene, and they can’t go back in.
“The guy sealed it off and told me ‘you can’t come back until further notice,’” she said.
She and her daughter barely have anything to wear now, as they deal with what’s next in this tragic situation.
“When we left our apartment, we literally left with nothing,” she said.
Miranda’s sister, Savannah Miranda, is collecting clothing donations for the family until they can get back to their stuff.
In a Facebook post, she explains what they’re in need of:
My sister and my niece and nephew have been displaced from their home. They aren’t allowed back in the apartment and they are in need of shoes and clothes, especially Jayla, school uniforms and shoes. I have some of their older clothes here at my house but they have mostly outgrown.
I know I’ve asked for a lot here but we’ve spent so much on buying the new house, so if anybody has anything they could donate, inbox me for my address. Or I’m currently accepting monetary donations via cashapp $savvyemm91 or drop off.
All donations will go directly to Ella.
Jayla is a Large in pants and shirts and wears a size 8 shoe.
Junior is a size 14 in both shirts and pants, he wears a size 13 in shoes.
Ella mostly fits my clothes but is going to need shoes.
No telling when they will be allowed back in their apartment.
There’s also a GoFundMe page set up for Mendoza’s funeral expenses.