VISALIA, Calif. — A pregnant woman was fatally shot at a busy Central California intersection, but her baby was saved after doctors delivered the boy by emergency C-section, authorities said.
Vanessa Oviedo, 27, was shot in the head in an apparent gang-related shooting in Visalia on Thursday night, the Fresno Bee reported.
The child is healthy and in stable condition, Visalia Police Lt. Brian Winter said.
Oviedo, who was 35 weeks pregnant, was shot in a drive-by shooting near Ben Maddox Way and Houston Avenue in Visalia. The driver, Andrew Aguirre, 23, was shot on the leg, Winter said.
Oviedo and Aguirre were travelling with three other people, including an 11-month-old child, when occupants of another car opened fire on them. Aguirre then drove to Kaweah Delta Medical Center, he said.
Oviedo was reported as a woman in delivery, but when medics said she had gunshot wounds and no pulse, Dr. Renee DeNolf, a second-year resident, and Dr. Steven Warrington jumped into action to save the baby.
Doctors had 30 seconds to perform the C-section, emergency room physician Greggory Shubert said.
“It was heroic,” he said. “This is something we’re taught to do, but this rarely occurs.” He said he knows of no such event in 20 years at the hospital.
“I got my scalpel out,” DeNolf told Fresno television station KFSN. “My attendant said, ‘cut’, so I cut.”
The baby came out barely moving and not breathing. But after a few tense seconds, they found a pulse, she said.
“To pull that baby out and know you save him, that is something I will never take for granted,” DeNolf said.
Detectives believe the car was targeted, but they have not been determined which of the passengers was the target of the attack, Winter said.
Family members remembered Oviedo as someone with a bright spirit.
“It was a shock to me, like, couldn’t believe it,” Oviedo’s father, Romero Oviedo, said at a vigil.