A Southern California middle school teacher was slain just days after landing her first classroom job, and police were working on Monday to identify the gun-wielding suspect who apparently ambushed her as she sat in a truck with her boyfriend and 5-year-old son.
Nancy Magana, 24, was killed early Saturday morning in a park in San Bernardino, leaving loved ones and colleagues shocked and saddened, and police scrambling to find her killer.
"She didn't owe anything to anybody, so why? Why her? Why not somebody who did bad stuff?" Magana's sister, Maria Magana, told ABC station KABC in Los Angeles. "Nobody wishes anything on anybody else, but why not somebody else. Why her?"
San Bernardino Police Department officials have released few details on the killing, but did say in a statement that officers responded to a 911 call reporting the shooting at about 2 a.m. on Saturday near Delmann Heights Park, where they found the mortally wounded teacher.
Magana was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
She was sitting in the driver's seat of the truck while her boyfriend, whose name was not released, was in the front passenger seat, and her young son was asleep in the rear seat, police said.
No suspects had been arrested as of Monday afternoon.
In an interview with the San Bernardino Sun newspaper, Maria Magana said police investigators told her the killer walked up to the truck and fired without warning. She said she has no reason to suspect her sister was targeted.
“It’s just that somebody walked up to her car and shot her for no reason," Maria Magana told the Sun. “That’s what makes it hard -- there’s no reason.”
Family members said Nancy Magana had just started her job two weeks ago as a seventh-grade math teacher at Del Vallejo Middle School. She was also the school's volleyball coach, relatives said.
San Bernardino Unified School District officials released a statement on Monday expressing condolences to Magana's family.
"Her life was tragically taken early Saturday morning in a cowardly act of violence," district officials said in the statement. "Nancy will be remembered as a very kind and dedicated teacher."
Dozens of family members and friends of Magana gathered for a vigil Sunday night, expressing disbelief over the young teacher's death.
They said Magana played soccer while attending California State University, San Bernardino, and that she worked as a soccer referee to support herself through college.
"We just appreciate the whole community being here for my cousin," Felipe Magana told those gathered for the vigil. "We're just devastated. This shouldn't happen."