Classmates mourn high school cheerleader shot, killed at Tolleson house party
TOLLESON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A weekend house party turned into a violent shooting that left a teen girl dead in Tolleson. Police say 17-year-old Desiree Rivas was leaving the party near 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road when she was shot and killed early Sunday morning.
Rivas was a beloved cheerleader at Cesar Chavez High School. Her cheer team shared a statement on Instagram: “it is with heaviest of hearts that I post about the tragic loss of our amazing friend, athlete and student. May Dessy rest in peace and be surrounded by love and light.” A neighbor also shared a message for Rivas’ fellow cheerleaders and family. “Just wanted to say God bless you and my condolences to you and your family. Keep your guys’ heads up and never forget about her,” said Brian Francis.
The West Valley shooting was one of several deadly shootings across Arizona over the weekend. At a party in Yuma, two people were shot and killed, and five more were hurt. Now, Dr. Marie Thearle with Arizonans Against Gun Violence is calling for support for violence prevention programs and legislative action for gun safety, including safe storage and red flag laws. “It’s heartbreaking. Gun violence is the second-leading cause of death of children in Arizona,” she said.
However, opponents argue that stricter gun laws would penalize law-abiding citizens, not criminals finding ways to carry guns illegally. “I know people say ‘criminals will always find a way to get a gun,’ and in my view, I don’t think we should roll over and make it easier for people,” Dr. Thearle explained.
While police are still investigating Rivas’ death, her classmates are choosing to remember how she lived. Friends, family and classmates held a vigil Monday night for Rivas. More than 50 people showed up to honor the cheerleader, and her cheer team did a special performance. Rivas’ father was touched by how many people attended. “A beautiful person and amazing soul. She was a role model to everybody. She was one of the people you wanted to be around,” he said.
No suspects have been found. If you have any information about the shooting, call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or submit an online tip.
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