Local News

Condition of 8-Year-Old Shooting Victim Upgraded

Posted July 26, 2001

— Frescia Villegas, the 8-year-old allegedly shot by her father in WakeMed's parking lot earlier this week, remains in guarded condition Thursday.

Her status, which means she is in serious, but stable condition, was upgraded on Wednesday.

Officials say Villegas is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Police believe the girl's father shot her before shooting himself.

According to Cary police, passer-by Jordan Santoni, 17, reported seeing gunfire coming from inside a 1997 blue Dodge Intrepid just after midnight Monday.

He said the car was parked, but still running, just outside the emergency room entrance of Western Wake Medical Center in Cary. He later dialed 911.

When police arrived, they found Jose Villegas, 33, slumped over in the driver's seat, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head. In the passenger's seat was his daughter, who was also shot, but conscious.

After stabilizing the girl at Western Wake, she was transported to WakeMed's trauma center where she underwent surgery Monday morning.

Police recovered a .380 semiautomatic handgun from the deceased in the car.

Police say Villegas and his common-law wife of eight years had been separated for the past several months. Villegas had moved out of their home at 2808 Piney Plains Road in Cary and relocated to his brother's home in Holly Springs.

Villegas does have a prior criminal record. In 1993, he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. Wake County sheriff's deputies responded to a domestic violence call at the Piney Plains Road home in June. Just last week, Villegas was charged with communicating threats.

"This is domestic violence in its worse form," says Lt. Chris Hoina of the Cary Police Department.

Family members told investigators that Villagas was unhappy with the split and had, on at least one occasion when drinking, threatened to harm the child and himself.

If you would like to help, you can make a donation to the family by sending it to the WakeMed Foundation in care of the 8-year-old shooting victim.


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