LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For the first time, we are hearing from the family of the mother killed in front of her child in a shootout in east Las Vegas.
Members of the family identified the victim as Karen Gotidoc Lopez.
Karen's family said she's originally from the Philippines and was working in Las Vegas to support her eldest son, a 10-year-old boy, and her retired parents who are all in the Philippines.
However, with her gone, the rest of her loved ones in the US are now raising money to help bring her body back home, so her family can see her one last time.
Karen Gotidoc Lopez immigrated to the US five years ago. Her cousin, Nancy Gotidoc, says she worked tirelessly to provide for her two sons and help her parents in the Philippines.
"She's the breadwinner of the family. She really will do everything. She will work," she said.
Karen's friends also said she might have been dealing with personal problems, but ever failed to make people around her smile.
Narcy Calumba-Benjamin was one of her closest friends and said Karen "struggled but she struggled inside of her heart."
Now, Karen's loved ones are reeling from the loss of a devoted mother, daughter, and caring friend.
Las Vegas police reported that Karen and her ex-husband, Fernando Lopez, were arguing inside a parked car near Desert Inn Road and Eastern Avenue, with their 4-year-old son also in the vehicle.
The argument escalated, Karen got out and handed the boy over to a neighbor.
"She was trying to save Kelvin (son) from the father," Nancy said.
Lopez then got out of the car with a handgun when an armed neighbor defended Karen that led to the deadly shootout - killing her and Fernando along with wounding another neighbor.
People living in the area remain in shock from the incident.
"I feel really bad about the little boy, what he has to go through right now, losing his mom and dad at the same time. It must be the craziest thing for a child," neighbor Daniel Morales said.
The family is currently focusing on raising money so her firstborn son and parents can say their goodbyes.
"If there were a chance, the father would like to come here and get Karen's remains and bring here there," Nancy said.
Las Vegas Filipino community leaders and organizations are also stepping up, pledging donations to help the family.
There will be a fundraiser for Karen Gotidoc Lopez on May 6 at Max's Restaurant near Flamingo Road and Maryland Parkway starting at 5 p.m.
The family has also set up a GoFundMe to help raise the additional funds.