Terri Baffa, friend and neighbor of a shooting victim in Melrose Park, Ill., talks to reporters on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2012, about the overnight homicide. (Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)

The death of a woman who was shot and robbed in Melrose Park has been ruled a homicide, officials said today.

Maricela Vera, 41, was standing outside her car in her garage at 1802 N. 21st Ave. when a gunman stole her purse and shot her about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, said Melrose Park spokesman Gary Mack.

Vera was pronounced dead about 7:50 p.m. after being taken to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park by paramedics, Mack said.

A neighbor likely called after hearing shots fired and police responded to a robbery in progress, Mack said.

“Her car was running as if she was preparing to leave the garage,’’ Mack said. 

No one else was hurt.

An autopsy Wednesday determined Vera died of a gunshot wound to the face and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Mack said the investigation is ongoing and police presence in that area has been stepped up.

Mack declined to say if any arrests have been made and police continue to comb the area for evidence.

“The investigation is ongoing,’’ Mack said.

rsobol@tribune.com

Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking