A 14-year-old girl from Colorado was shot and killed in her home while making TikTok videos.
On August 7, Aaliyah Salazar was in a Monte Vista home filming dance videos for the social media app. According to legal documents, she was there with two unnamed teenagers. As Aaliyah and her friends danced one of her companions was in the background “fiddling with something on the bed”. Seconds later, a shot would ring out that would heartbreakingly be the one to end Salazar’s life…
Police were called to the home around 4:26 p.m. where they found the young girl with a gunshot wound. She was unresponsive at the scene. According to an affidavit, she was gone before they could do anything:
“There were no vital signs of life from the victim.”
Gut-wrenching… but how did this happen?
Five days later on August 12, three suspects were arrested in relation to Aaliyah’s tragic death. The two friends whom were with her at the scene of the crime and 21-year-old Emiliano Vargas. Although Vargas isn’t believed to have been at the property when the incident occurred, he is the owner of the gun used to shoot Salazar. Investigators believe he left the gun out in the open and one of the teens got ahold of it — and that’s when the unthinkable happened…
The two juveniles connected with the crime have been charged with felony manslaughter and misdemeanor possession of a weapon. They face up to six years in Colorado’s youth offender system. Emiliano was charged with providing a handgun to a juvenile — which is a class-four felony in the state. The punishment for a class-four felony is two to six years in state facilities and/or $2,000 to $500,000 in fines. The mandatory parole period is three years.
One of the teenagers involved with the shooting told KRDO-TV they believe it was “an accident” — but the victim’s family isn’t so sure. They’ve spoken out against the suspects and believe the incident was intentional.
Aaliyah’s grandfather, Gary Salazar, remembered his granddaughter’s friendly and bubbly nature to KUSA in an interview:
“She could go into a store and come out with 20 new friends. She was just that type of person. She loved people and her family.”
So, so sad. Gary isn’t satisfied with the punishments the suspects are facing if they’re charged with the crime, either:
“The frustration I’ve got is that if you take a life, you should have to pay for it dearly, not with a slap on the hand and say don’t do it again.”
A new district attorney is expected to review the case in September. A GoFundMe has been started to help the family pay for final expenses for the 14-year-old:
“Aaliyah had recently graduated from the 8th grade at Monte Vista Middle School and would have been a freshman at Monte Vista High School this year. Aaliyah was Gary’s whole world, he loved his baby girl so much. This year has been a rough one on the Salazar family as a whole. As a family we are asking for donations to help with Aaliyah’s headstone, any amount that you could possibly spare would be greatly appreciated.”
If you would like to donate to the family you can find the link here.
Such a heartbreaking situation. Our hearts go out to the Salazar family, may Aaliyah rest in peace.