POMPANO BEACH — Alissa Cabrera-Espaillat was a 17-year-old girl with big dreams living with her family in one of Pompano Beach’s motels off the turnpike, near the strip clubs, homeless center and jail.
She and her family had thought living in this area was worrisome — they frequently heard gunfire — but stayed there because it was affordable, relatives said. Unaccepting of her situation, Cabrera-Espaillat pictured one day going on to law school and fighting for justice, horrified by the high-profile deaths of Black people such as Breonna Taylor.
Then tragedy befell Cabrera-Espaillat when a stranger outside Room 123 opened fire, shooting through a window that had its curtains drawn and killing Cabrera-Espaillat as she leapt from her bed, according to her family and authorities.
Cabrera-Espaillat was an innocent bystander — shot in the face, her family said. She was not the intended target, rather a man named Bill who likely rented the Travelodge room before Cabrera-Espaillat and her family moved in, they said. Alissa Cabrera-Espaillat, 17, died Nov. 7, 2020, after being shot in the face and shoulder through the window at a Pompano Beach motel room. (Jasmine Colon) All that her older sister could do was scream when she heard about the killing on Nov. 4. “No! Why her? Why her?”
Her mother had dealt with mental illness, so Cabrera-Espaillat thought she could one day tend to patients who were afflicted like her mother, her family said.
This girl’s life was looking up. Then a shooter came to her motel door.
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