MODESTO, Calif. — An early-morning shooting the day after Christmas killed a 14-year-old girl and injured two other teens, Modesto Police Department said in a news release.
On Saturday just after midnight, an unknown suspect opened fire on a car driving on Martin Luther King Boulevard near Oak Street. Four people were in the car, including the 14-year-old who was killed, an 18-year-old woman and 16-year-old boy who were injured, and an 11-year-old girl who was unharmed.
Modesto police said the 14-year-old died at the scene, but the two injured teens were taken to a hospital and are expected to recover. A family member identified the victim as her sister, 14-year-old Maria Guadalupe Juarez.
“She didn’t deserve to go like this,” Juarez's sister told ABC10. She requested that her own name not be shared, but confirmed that she was the sister of the other two girls in the shooting as well.
On the day of the shooting, Juarez's sister had slept in and woke up to the sound of her phone ringing. She learned that her sister was shot and rushed out the door, following the sound of sirens so she could find her.
“She was a loving little girl. She was always happy,” she said. She added that her sister was going to turn 15 in the next month.
On Monday night, she was relighting the candles at her sister's memorial to make sure they didn't go out. She told ABC10 that her sister wanted to be involved with gymnastics and had been doing cartwheels ever since she was little. Above all else, her sister loved seeing people smile.
“She was just always trying to make everybody happy and laugh, even if it was bad – even if we were in a bad situation,” Juarez's sister said.
Modesto City Schools public information officer Becky Fortuna released the following statement about the shooting:
"I can confirm that a freshman at Modesto High School was tragically killed over the weekend. We are offering counseling and grief support resources to the student’s family, our staff, and students. Please be aware that the family has requested privacy at this time and does not wish to be contacted."
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.
There are no other details at this time, and Modesto police are investigating the incident. Detective Wilson with Modesto’s Violent Crimes Unit is asking for witnesses to contact him at WilsonD@modestopd.com or via phone at 209-342-9130. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636.