Deputies: Mother killed baby, shot self in Ocala

Marion County sheriff's deputies investigate shooting


OCALA, Fla. – A 20-year-old woman shot and killed her 6-month-old baby and shot herself in Marion County in a murder-suicide attempt that came to light after a family member noticed a post on Facebook, according to deputies.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called around 11 a.m. to an area near Northwest 45th Court in Ocala in connection with the attempted murder-suicide.

Family members told deputies Melanie Reyes, 20, had posted a statement on her Facebook page indicating she was going to shoot her son, Jonah Mendoza, and herself, according to a release.

When deputies arrived, they found Reyes and Jonah with gunshot wounds and took them to Ocala Regional Medical Center. The infant was later pronounced dead.  Reyes was in critical condition, sheriff's officials said. Deputies said they believe she will survive.

Local 6 spoke to a friend of the baby's father, who said he was told over the phone that Reyes shot her son twice in the chest.

"I was like, 'Why she do it?'  He's like, 'She's crazy,'" said Peter Colon. "That's messed up."

Colon said recently the father wasn't allowed to see his son very often and Reyes had lived with a boyfriend at a home across town. But a few days before Christmas, deputies arrested her for domestic violence after deputies say Reyes beat her boyfriend with a baseball bat and bit him on the chest as she was moving out of the house.

Detectives said they are interviewing neighbors and family members to gather more information about what happened before the shooting. Deputies recovered a handgun at the house, and according to the release, "detectives are confident it was the gun used by Reyes."

Reyes lived at the house with her parents. No one was at the house at the time.