GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police are looking for a man as they investigate a deadly shooting in downtown Grand Rapids that happened Wednesday.

The Grand Rapids Police Department identified Luis Fabian Bernal-Sosa as a person of interest in the death of Leah Gomez. There is a warrant for his arrest. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said in a Thursday release.

Bernal-Sosa, 27, goes by “Fabian.” He drives an early 2000s black Ford Ranger with an extended cab and aftermarket rims and tires. There may be a “Bernal Landscape Management” sticker on the back.

Police are also hoping to identify and talk to two possible witnesses. GRPD released surveillance photos of them Thursday:

Anyone with information about where Bernal-Sosa may be or about the witnesses is asked to call GRPD detectives at 616.456.3380 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

Family members told News 8 Gomez, 22, was loving and an amazing mother.

“Leah had a huge heart,” her aunt, Ashley Reil, said in a statement. “She was one to (a)lways make people laugh. She was an amazing mother to her daughter who requires 24-hour care.”

An undated photo of Leah Gomez. (Courtesy)
An undated photo of Leah Gomez. (Courtesy)

The shooting happened Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of Loose Leaf Lofts on Commerce Avenue between Goodrich Street and Wealthy Street. Police called there on a report of shots fired found Gomez shot dead in a car.

“From what I can tell, It looks like she was shot multiple times. I’m guessing that she died very close to that location where we located her in the vehicle,” GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said at the scene Wednesday.

The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide following an autopsy, police confirmed Thursday.

A child was found inside the car with the woman and was not shot, police said. Family said Gomez has a 1-year-old daughter. The child was taken to the hospital by ambulance for evaluation but wasn’t hurt, a Thursday release confirmed.

Court documents reveal a history of domestic abuse between Sosa, Gomez’s one-time boyfriend and the father of her child, and Gomez. In Wyoming in 2022, one document alleges, he hit her in the face and strangled her for between one and two minutes, causing her to lose consciousness. He was charged with felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor domestic violence.

“Research shows that a lot of these domestic incidents which end up as murders, there’s a history prior to that of domestic incidents, many of them involving stragulation,” Chief Winstrom said.

In January of this year, a bench warrant was issued for Sosa’s arrest after he failed to show up in court. On Thursday, Wyoming police had no comment on why he had not been picked up.

“In order for her to remain safe, we need the systems around us to hold that perpretrator accountable,” said Rachel VerWys, CEO of Safe Haven Ministries.

VerWys calls Gomez’s death devastating.

“To learn that domestic violence has resulted in the death of someone, it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

VerWys said the community must reflect on how the situation got to this point and come together to better serve survivors and victims of abuse.

“How can we really — from social services, to law enforcement, to education, to healthcare — really level up our commitment to take the problem of abuse in our community seriously?” VerWys said.

As police continue their search for Sosa, Winstrom said it’s unlikely he’ll be able to hide alone.

“He’s going to be reaching out to friends, he’s going to be reaching out to family members, and others in the community. So we really need individuals to step up and really we need to see justice for Leah,” Winstrom said.

Winstrom also told News 8 that Gomez’s child is now with other family members.