PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix police are investigating after a teen girl was found dead after being shot in a south Phoenix alley early Saturday morning. Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune says officers responded to a scene of a reported shooting around 5:30 a.m. near 35th and Southern avenues.  

Chambers Street Crime Scene

A woman was found shot to death in a car in Laveen.

A caller told police they saw a girl sitting in a car who appeared to have been shot. When officers arrived, they noticed a girl, later identified as 17-year-old Itzel E Espinoza, with a gunshot wound. Espinoza was pronounced dead at the scene.

Espinoza's father, Eduardo Espinoza, says he and his wife last saw Itzel on Thursday when she went out with friends. When Itzel didn't return, they called police to report her missing. On Saturday morning they learned she had been found dead.

17-year-old Itzel E Espinoza killed

Itzel E Espinoza, 17, was about to enter her senior year of high school.

Eduardo says the hardest part is "knowing she's never coming back." He says his daughter was about to enter her senior year of high school. Though she was an aspiring social media model and influencer, Eduardo says, he always encouraged her to take her studies seriously. "A character, she was funny," says Eduardo. "She was good people to be around."

Eduardo says he does not know what happened, but says recently Itzel had been hanging with the wrong crowd. He is begging anyone with information to please speak up.

Eduardo doesn't want another family to experience his pain. "All young girls and all young adults out there, your parents care for you. They want the best for you," says Eduardo. "They want you to be a teenager, enjoy your best years. Go out and have fun but have a limit, you know. Come home."

The family has started a gofundme to help with funeral expenses. The investigation is ongoing. 

If you have any information, please call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).

Editor's Note: The initial report was that the victim was a woman. On Monday, Phoenix police confirmed she was a teenager. 

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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