Fifteen-year-old Khadija and 5-year-old Alyssa were sent to a local Crown Fried Chicken in their Brownsville neighborhood around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday.
When they returned, they reportedly found their mother’s, Sellis Gonzales (pictured), body lying in a pool of blood. She’d been shot six times, according to police.
Three of the bullets were to the head; the other three to her midsection.
Khadija immediately phoned her grandmother, Ursula Gonzales, in North Carolina telling her, “My mother is on the floor covered in blood,” with Khadija also reportedly saying, “The police are making me go upstairs to stay with a neighbor.”
The Gonzales matriarch arrived in N.Y.C Thursday to offer the girls support and to come to terms with her daughter’s murder.
“She was my only daughter, my only girl child,” Gonzales said.
Ursula and her granddaughters held a tearful reunion outside the apartment Thursday while detectives checked nearby buildings for surveillance cameras. Yellow police tape blocked off the apartment entrance and a blood-stained sheet was seen in the stairwell, with a blood trail to the sidewalk visible.
Eric McCormick, Sellis’ ex-girlfriend and Father to Alyssa, reportedly sent the girls to pick up the food after they’d returned back home with their mother. He is the prime suspect, though his whereabouts are unknown.
According to the family, McCormick had a history of violence toward her.
“We know it was him,” Ursula said. “This was not the first time he hurt her. He’s a control freak. He’s controlling and abusive.” The family says McCormick physically abused Sellis while she was pregnant with Alyssa. Officers even answered a domestic violence call at their address in 2008.
“Once, I came back from a trip and I saw the side of her face all swollen. She wouldn’t say what happened. I believe he hit her,” Sellis’ brother, Kirt Gonzales, shared.
“After the baby was born, they started back up…. My mother and I didn’t want him with her.” Though she took out an order of protection against McCormick, it eventually expired.
Kirt and Ursula reportedly tried being cordial with McCormick for Alyssa’s sake, but they said they didn’t trust him.
McCormick also has a lengthy criminal record, including 10 arrests in New York on robbery, grand larceny, and assault charges.
Gonzales, who also had a 24-year-old son, was a home-health aide working to provide a better life for her children.
“She was going to school to learn more. She loved her children and her church and made sure her girls went to services every Sunday,” her brother said
Anyone with any information is advised to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.