Dozens demand justice for woman killed by Citrus Heights police

FAIR OAKS - Supporters of a young mother who was shot and killed by police held a candlelight vigil where she took her final breath.

Gabriella Nevarez, known to her friends as "Gabby", was shot and killed by Citrus Heights police during a high speed pursuit Sunday morning. How it ended is a point of contention. Police said she was trying to lunge at officers with a car, but her supporters say she was trying to get away from police.

"I'm hurt and I'm shocked that this can happen to someone like her. She was an amazing person," said Aniyas White, Nevarez's cousin.

She was one of more than 50 people who turned out Monday night to mourn the young mother's life. Nevarez leaves behind a 3-year-old son. "She would never do anything to put her or her son in harms way. She would never do that," one of Nevarez's close friends said.

It was Sunday morning when Citrus Heights police received a call that the car Nevarez was in had been stolen. Her friends said the car belonged to her grandmother, and she had stolen it after an argument with her grandmother.

Once police found the car, they said Nevarez led them on a high-speed chase where she hit speeds of more than 70 miles per hour driving on the wrong side of the road.

Police said she eventually rammed her car into two different patrol cars. That's when officers opened fire. But those who knew her said she was shot without justification.

"It looks like she was trying to leave and escape," Angel Green said. "I've never known Gabby to want to hurt anyone or be aggressive."

Police have not disclosed how many times they pulled the trigger, but witnesses said they heard about five to six gunshots.

"She should have never been shot that many times, that's ridiculous," one of Nevarez's supporters said. "The police are supposed to protect us, they're not supposed to kill us."

The Sacramento County Sherriff's office, along with the Citrus Heights Police Department, are investigating the officer-involved shooting. As is routine with cases like this, the two officers who opened fire have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.


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