‘That’s all my daughter’s life is worth?’ Family of Houston woman killed in road rage shooting criticizes low bond

HOUSTON – The family of Maria Ramirez, a 59-year-old woman who was killed while her vehicle was stopped at a red light at the intersection on West Gulf Bank Road, is experiencing some relief after the man accused of shooting her was arrested.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, the mother of two and a friend were at the intersection of West Gulf Bank Road and North Houston-Rosslyn Road while heading home after a night of fun.

Police said a shot was fired from inside another vehicle, which was described as a silver Ford F-150 pickup truck. The victim was struck. Her female passenger, 55, was not injured in the incident.

Ramirez’s vehicle then reportedly rolled through the intersection, over a curb and into a parking lot, where it struck a dumpster. Passing motorists stopped to assist and called 9-1-1. HPD patrol officers and Houston Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and Ramirez was pronounced dead.

Wydell Dupree Jones was arrested and charged with murder. Police said there was “no apparent reason” for the shooting.

“These two people were innocent and just trying to go home,” Homicide Detective Kyle Heaverlo said. “I want to stress the importance of the community. We went business to business, restaurant to store to people living in residences to HOA members. Everybody that we came in contact with during this investigation was very accommodating and willing to help, and we truly believe that without their assistance, we’re not sure we’d be standing here today.”

Ramirez’s father Ruben thanked Chief Troy Finner, detectives, and Mayor John Whitmire for closing the case. He said he hopes the city gets cameras on the highway that can read license plates to help catch criminals in similar future incidents.

On Thursday, Ruben spoke with KPRC 2 reporter Rilwan Balogun about Maria’s legacy, Jones’ arrest, and the heartbreak they feel following her death.

When asked how he was feeling, Ruben told Balogun, “Down. Feeling kind of low. I would say a little bit emotional because they put on the news they had given him a $300,000 bond. I sure hope it didn’t go through.”

“That’s all my daughter’s life is worth?” Ruben then asked. “To set such a low bond for a person that has no right to be out on the streets. Because that was a random killing with no excuse. He was not provoked or anything like that. It was a useless senseless killing.”

When Balogun asked how Ruben how he found out about Maria’s passing, he said, “I was called by my granddaughter and telling me to call my daughter because something was wrong. She did not know at the time that she had passed away.”

Ruben said he hopes Jones will be put away for life.

“He took away my daughter and he took away the life of a person that was very much loved by everybody that knew her.”

Ruben also thanked the community for helping police find the suspect.

“They have done a great job: investigators, the police department. I am very thankful for them for being so quick and being up to it right away,” Ruben said. “They said there were a lot of witnesses that helped.”

According to Ruben, Maria loved to dance.

“She just recently had some knee surgery, knee problems. She was waiting, just waiting to get better so she could go do some dancing,” Ruben said. “As a matter of fact, that’s where she was coming back home from. She just loved to dance.”

The grandmother of four was known for being joyful and helpful.

“She will be greatly missed. Not by just me, my wife, but just about everybody that knew her,” Ruben said.

Ruben says he will miss his close relationship with Maria.

“We would talk for about 30 minutes, 35, 40 minutes up to an hour on the telephone. Just playful things. I would playfully chew her out for one thing or another. And her answer was, ‘I love you too, daddy.’ That’s hard to beat from a person who was going to be 60 in April to tell her daddy just about every time we talked, ‘I love you too, daddy. I love you too, daddy.’”

Ruben plans to attend Jones’ scheduled court appearance Friday.

“I would like to go there and look at him. If I could have a few words for him,” Ruben said. “I would like, like every person that has been hurt, would like to spend five 10 minutes with him with nobody looking.”

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Prairie View A&M University graduate with a master’s degree in Digital Media Studies from Sam Houston State. Delta woman. Proud aunt. Lover of the color purple. 💜

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