Kensington residents gathered at a sidewalk memorial Wednesday to mourn their friend and neighbor who was fatally shot Monday night.
Police are investigating whether Rosemary Fernandez-Rivera, 33, was killed for cooperating with an investigation into a previous shooting.
Reina, as she was known in her neighborhood, was killed at the counter of the corner grocery she ran. Her neighbors built and painted a wooden memorial shrine for a service held outside the building.
“I’m upset about what happened to her, but I don’t really know and I don’t know what she said down there,” said Gladys Martinez, who lives across the street from the store.
Martinez says Rivera was a remarkable, tough woman, who wasn’t afraid to work alone in a tough neighborhood.
Martinez doesn’t think Rivera knew anything about the murder of a drug dealer in November, but she says police took her downtown to talk several times and the neighbors knew she was cooperating. That’s something, Martinez said, few in the neighborhood dare to do.
“They’re afraid that they’re not going to be protected. People don’t want to talk,” she said. “They don’t even want to come out to their windows or their doors to see what’s going on.”
Greg Bucceroni, who met Rivera while shopping in her store, works with Crime Victim Services, which has an office nearby.
He thinks Rivera’s increasingly vocal stance against drug activity in her neighborhood made her a target. He says fear of retaliation keeps many from being as public in their opposition as she was.
“In return, because of that, she was murdered, that’s just the painful truth of it all,” Bucceroni said. “It’s something I’m very sad about. I’m very upset it has occurred.”
Rivera was going to start neighborhood watch training next month.