Man sentenced in gang shooting that killed woman leaving church

VISTA, Calif. - A man was sentenced Thursday for firing shots intended for gang rivals but instead killing a passing motorist as she headed home from church.

A judge sentenced 25-year-old Dionicio Torrez Jr. to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Torrez fired 12 rounds across a street at gang rivals who were spotted tagging the apartment complex where he lived around 9 p.m. on March 7, 2017.

One of those bullets struck 55-year-old Cathy Kennedy in the head as she was driving on eastbound Grand Avenue near Midway Drive. She died at a hospital.

Kennedy's husband, Kevin, says his wife would have forgiven Torrez.

“The tragedy of this is how much Cathy had spent her life trying to make the world a better place – doing good. In contrast to this gang culture which is just tearing at our society, killing people and causing disfunction at all levels," said Kennedy outside the courtroom.

Police arrested Torrez the week after the shooting -- along with a 16 year-old boy who was with Torrez that night.

The teen remains in juvenile custody and has cooperated with prosecutors for a more lenient sentence.

“He was very much at the beginning stages of becoming a gang member. Was there when this happened and watched what happened and was rocked by what happened. Like everybody else was," said Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hauf.

Torrez did not make a statement during sentencing, but did glance over at sobbing family members as he was taken out of the courtroom.

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