Groom shot in the head at wedding reception in front of family during attempted robbery

Tuesday, July 02, 2024 - A Missouri couple’s wedding night turned into a nightmare after masked gunmen stormed into their backyard reception and shot the groom in the head in front of his bride and guests during a failed armed robbery.

Manuel and Dulce Gonzalez had been together for over a decade and were already the parents of two small children when they held an intimate wedding ceremony for about 50 of their close friends and family in the backyard of their St. Louis home on Friday, June 28, Fox 2 Now reported Monday, July 1.

However, while celebrating the couple’s love, two gunmen wearing ski masks stormed into the backyard, shouting at the guest not to move and demanding money as the night came to a close at around 1 a.m. Saturday, June 29, police told the outlet.

As one of the cold-hearted criminals began rummaging through the guests’ pockets, the other stood behind the groom and held him at gunpoint.

Then, without any warning, the thug shot Manuel Gonzalez in the head in front of his tight-knit family and friends, according to Fox 2 Now.

After the shots rang out, both men fled on foot without stealing a single dollar or item from guests.

“They took nothing, yet they took everything from us,” The bride’s sister, Yaribeth Peña, told the outlet.

The 32-year-old groom was rushed to the hospital and was listed in critical condition.

Peña, who ran into the house when the men stormed into the backyard, said the situation unfolded in about 30 seconds before her brother-in-law was shot.

“I didn’t witness when he got shot. I heard the gunshot when I was running through the house,” she told KSDK.

She added that she suspects the armed thieves shot her brother-in-law while he was “going for his wallet.”

“Maybe they thought he was going for a weapon,” Peña said.

She believes the suspects are two teenagers, describing one as being shorter than the other.

Ring Doorbell footage obtained by KSDK from the couple’s home shows the two suspects approaching the house before the attempted robbery and then taking off down the road after shooting Manuel Gonzalez.

No arrests have been made, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Manuel Gonzalez’s father-in-law said on Monday, July 1, that his son-in-law had made some hand movements since being admitted to the hospital but remains in critical condition.

Peña shared that her sister is “distraught” about what happened to her husband.

“She’s depressed, she’s heartbroken,” Peña said.

“He’s fighting for his life. We are hoping he pulls through.”

The sister-in-law described Manuel Gonzalez as a “good father” who treats her sister with respect and is known as a hard-working family man.

“He’s just an all-around good person that, I don’t know, he didn’t deserve this,” Peña told Fox 2 Now of her brother-in-law.

Peña, who lives next door to her sister and brother-in-law’s home, shared she now worries about her family’s safety with the violent criminals still on the loose.

The family is also asking anyone with information or a Ring door video that may have caught a glimpse of the suspects to come forward.

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