RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) – It was around this time in 2015 that a young woman was shot dead while sitting in a car in Richmond. Her killer has still not been named or found.
Police don’t think 20-year-old Ronique Gardner-Williams was the intended target. They believe it was a matter of being at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Her mother Nicole Gardner still hopes someone will call police with new clues to help reopen the case. However, Gardner says communication from the Richmond Police Department has been slim the entire time.
And she is still haunted by the same question every day for the last seven years: Who killed my daughter?
In 2008, Gardner’s son was shot nine times, so the family left Boston for the Bay Area to start over. She thought it would be a safe haven. Instead, her daughter was gunned down on Dec. 5, 2015, while sitting in the passenger seat of a car after leaving the Hilltop Mall in Richmond.
“You put so much energy into raising your children to be productive citizens and to do everything right. And then that happened,” Gardner said.
Gardner-Williams was studying at Marin City College with the hopes of becoming a veterinarian. Those dreams were dashed when another car drove up beside the one she was riding in at San Pablo Avenue and Hilltop Drive.
Police said her boyfriend and another woman fled the scene and later did not cooperate fully with the investigation. They also said that the suspect’s vehicle was sold twice before investigators could track it down.
“He knows something,” Gardner said. “And I think if the detectives would’ve put more effort into questioning him, being on him about what happened and following him, and just being on him, maybe somebody would’ve found out.”
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Dewanda Stewart-Joseph has been supporting Gardner ever since through her community-led organization called Ya-NEEMA. She formed the group after her own nephew lost his life to gun violence.
“This life chose me. I did not choose to do this,” she said. “I think that it’s really important that we continue to build some relationships within community, our neighbors, and being the change we want to see in our neighborhoods. And not just depending on sources like our law enforcement. Our law enforcement in Richmond has really dropped.”
Anyone with information can contact Richmond PD anonymously by calling (510) 307-8177. Again, police need new information to reopen this case and bring the healing that the Gardner family has been waiting for this holiday season.