19-Year-Old Fatally Shot While Celebrating Mexican Independence Day: 'A Good Heart, a Good Soul'
Daisy Martinez died after being struck by gunfire from a suspect who thought others were firing at him, police said
The Mexican Independence Day celebration in Kansas City, Missouri, drew 19-year-old Daisy Martinez out Wednesday night to enjoy a street festival and truck show.
An explosion of gunfire there that ended her life left her family bereft.
“My heart dropped as soon as I heard the news," said her father, Heriberto Barraza, reports KMBC.
"I started crying and up to this day I still can’t believe it," he said Sunday. "It’s like if it’s a nightmare. I wish it was a nightmare."
Witnesses and video surveillance from the area showed that a black Silverado truck with a large Mexican flag on the rear bumper was involved in the shooting, according to the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office.
Officers who chased down the suspect vehicle took its owner and another man into custody, and spotted an AK-47 rifle "in plain view," according to a probable cause statement, reports KSHB.
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The owner of the truck alleged the second man, 30-year-old Diego Calderon-Guzman, shot the victim, according to the prosecutor.
The crime lab later matched the rifle to shell casings at the scene. Calderon-Guzman told police that after "people started fighting and shooting guns," he grabbed the rifle from the truck and began firing at "what he believed were individuals ... shooting at him," according to the probable cause statement.
He said he hadn't seen Martinez running in front of him when he fired, according to the statement.
On Saturday the prosecutor's office said Calderon-Guzman has been charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of armed criminal and unlawful possession of a weapon.
An attorney for Calderon-Guzman was not immediately identified, and it could not be determined if he had entered a plea. He was being held Monday in the Jackson County Detention Center, with the prosecutor's office seeking a bond of $500,000.
“Daisy was a person who had a good spirit, her laugh you could hear her across the room," said her father. "She had a smile, she was always joking, she was funny. She always had a good heart, a good soul, everybody loved her."
Over the weekend family members and others raised more than $6,000 in donations with a car wash to help cover the costs of a funeral, reports KMBC.
“The irony of a young Mexican Latina got shot on Mexican Independence Day by another Mexican young gentleman, the irony of it, it's distasteful,” the victim's aunt, Francesca Salas, told the outlet. "I don’t think anybody has words for that.”