Mother and Blind 11-Year-Old Daughter Killed in Horrific SUV Shooting, Police Report

A man faces murder charges in the deaths of a woman and her blind 11-year-old daughter, who were shot while sitting in a parked SUV in Massachusetts.

Dejan Belnavis, 27, faces charges in the deaths of Chasity Nuñez, 27, and her 11-year-old daughter, Zella. Belnavis was arrested in San Diego, California, following a traffic encounter. He was the second person arrested in the case.

The mother and daughter were slain on March 5, according to officials. At 3:09 p.m., Worcester police responded to a complaint of gunfire near Lisbon Street and Englewood Avenue. Officers discovered a parked vehicle with the victims inside. They had sustained significant injuries and were sent to a hospital, where they died.

Hundreds of mourners attended the victims’ funerals on Thursday.

Mother and Blind 11-Year-Old Daughter Killed in Horrific SUV Shooting, Police Report

Some described the situation as “terrible,” “tragic,” or “pure devastation,” according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

According to the Worcester District Attorney’s Office, Belnavis, who is now in detention in California, is anticipated to be extradited to Massachusetts soon to face charges. According to officials, he has a criminal background and is affiliated with gangs.

Nunez was a Specialist E4 with the Connecticut National Guard.

“Our hearts are broken because we lost Specialist Chasity Nunez to senseless violence,” Connecticut National Guard Public Affairs Officer Maj. Dave Pytlik said in a statement. “She and her daughter were killed while sitting in their vehicle in their own neighborhood.”

“Chasity was beloved by her fellow Soldiers in the 142nd Medical Company,” Mr. Pytlik stated. “Her wit, gregarious nature, and commitment to duty made her one of the best soldiers in our unit. I have no idea why this happened, or why her family, friends, coworkers, and fellow Soldiers have lost her and Zella. What we can and must do now is support one another in our grief, digest this great loss, and honor their legacy.

She was pursuing her second master’s degree while working as a patient safety and clinical quality coordinator at MIT.

“Chasity was a force to be reckoned with; incredibly dependable,” the obituary read. “There was nothing she couldn’t accomplish, and if it couldn’t be done right away, you better believe she’d plan ahead of time to ensure it was done. She lighted up every room she entered, as evidenced by the outpouring of affection she has received.”

Mother and Blind 11-Year-Old Daughter Killed in Horrific SUV Shooting, Police Report

She left behind a two-year-old daughter, according to a fundraising website. Her daughters were the focus of her life.

“Everything she did to elevate her life was for them,” the obituary stated.

The obituary stated, “Zella was an optimistic and creative soul.”

Much like her mother, she wanted to dabble in everything from painting, singing, dancing to skating,” according to the article. “She was sweet, fun to be around, and enjoyed teaching us her latest TikTok routines. Her gentle demeanor won hearts quickly.”

Tyrae Sims, Zella’s cousin and godfather, who told NBC Boston affiliate WBTS that she was legally blind, was devastated.

“Zella was just the best,” Sims recalled. “She was full of life and such a good little child. “She did not deserve it at all.”

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