As more details emerge from Sunday’s horrific shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, we learn more about the victims and their stories. Today, we’re learning that, in addition to the death of 6-year-old Steven Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar also died in the massacre.
She was killed by the gunman but may have saved another relative’s life by staying behind amid the shooting to walk with a relative who uses a cane.
Keyla Salazar, 13, was identified late Monday by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office, as the third victim fatally shot by a 19-year-old gunman while attending the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Salazar’s aunt, Katiuska Pimentel Vargas, told the Associated Press Monday that her niece was eating ice cream with family members when they heard gunshots and began to flee. Salazar stayed behind to keep pace with a relative who uses a cane and was shot with a bullet that otherwise might have hit the woman she was waiting for, Pimentel Vargas said.
Pimentel Vargas told BuzzFeed News the teen would have turned 14 on Aug. 4 and was going to start the ninth grade this fall.
Friends say Keyla’s step-father was also shot and remains in the hospital.
“I have no words to describe this pain I’m feeling,” she wrote on Facebook Monday in a post honoring her late niece.
“We just want Keyla to be remembered as someone that is beautiful,” Pimentel said. “She really cared a lot about other people. She loved animals. She had big dreams and aspirations and her life was cut short.”
A local car dealership in Gilroy started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Salazar’s parents after her death.
”Together we can help with this heartbreaking loss,” Mann wrote. The page had raised over $22,000 as of Monday night, nearing the halfway point of its $50,000 goal. Family and friends shared the crowdsourcing page to Facebook Monday to ask for donations.
“Please donate. She is my friends daughter and unfortunately lost her life in a senseless act. Please keep her family in your prayers,” Jeannette Godinez also wrote on Facebook.
Minutes after Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador told reporters that his new approach to curb cartel violence is working, Mexico’s fast-growing threat, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), killed 14 police officers and set their cars on fire during a deadly ambush. The police convoy was passing through El Aguaje, a small town in the state of Michoacan, to serve a warrant when 20 armed vehicles ambushed the officers. Fourteen officers were declared dead and another nine were injured.
As first responders arrived on the scene, they found handwritten messages, signed “CJNG.”
Families of the victims are angry that their loved ones weren’t more heavily armed to defend themselves against the thirty gunmen who attacked the police convoy from behind. One day after the attack, a memorial service became a town hall of sorts. Grieving family members shouted at Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles, “Like sheep to the slaughter!”
Five families refused to allow the coffins of their loved ones to be present in the company of those they feel were responsible for the deaths: the officials who didn’t adequately arm the police to defend themselves.
Obrador’s strategy to end cartel violence is two-fold: end corruption and provide resources to poverty-stricken regions.
“We are going to continue with our strategy,” López Obrador later said. “For us it is very important for there to be well-being, that peace with justice can be achieved … and also avoiding that authorities mix with crime.” Experts think Obrador’s strategy is smart for long-term success in stabilizing Mexico. Still, in the short-term, murders have only increased in Mexico. Last year, a record number of 29,000 murders were recorded, and 2019 may just break that record.
Falko Ernst, a Mexican analyst for the International Crisis Group, says Michoacán will continue to be “deep narco-war territory” until the state develops a strategy to de-signify the land.
In a Twitter thread, Ernst recalled the decades-long history of cartel conflict in a small, rural village called El Aguaje. It “sits on a key overland road connecting the Hot Land region with the Sierra Madre, and was once a stronghold of the Milenio Cartel, big-time coke runners in the ’90s/early 2000s,” Ernst tweeted. At the time, a young Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, who would later become “El Mencho” and the boss of CJNG, was a member of the Milenio cartel.
Ernst was there in 2011 when Milenio drug lords were dragged out of their mansions and executed. “La Familia” then took over the town, until it split into two conflicting gangs. That’s when El Mencho broke away to form the Jalisco (or CJNG) cartel.
Now, El Mencho, personally ousted by La Familia, is warring for their territory, leaving civilians in the crossfire.
El Mencho lived in the U.S. at one point, without papers, and served three years in prison for selling drugs stateside. As soon as he was released in 1997, he was deported to Mexico, where he went on to serve on the Jalisco state police force. For some reason, he left the force to join the Milenio cartel. El Mencho was born just a few miles away from El Aguaje. Now, he’s leading CJNG to reclaim what they think belongs to them–la puebla del Aguaje.
The DEA has dubbed El Mencho one of their “most wanted,” and has offered a $10 million bounty for his arrest.
“El Chapo was violent, but El Mencho has taken it to a new level,” the lead DEA agent told Univision.
“Decapitations, dissolving bodies in acid, public executions, ripping out the heart, killing women and children, bombings against people. It happens almost every day,” DEA agent Kyle Mori told Univision. “El Chapo was violent, but El Mencho has taken it to a new level.”
In August, CJNG hung nine bodies from a bridge in Uruapan, Michoacán, and hung up a large banner that read, “Lovely people. Carry on with your day.” Ten other bodies were dumped on the road nearby.
Chesa Boudin is running for district attorney in San Francisco. At a forum hosted by Project Rebound, Boudin was asked about the growing white supremacy in the U.S. and his plans to combat it. The candidate did not shy away from the question and attacked it head-on in English and Spanish to be inclusive. Here’s what he had to say.
San Francisco DA candidate Chesa Boudin is on a mission to tackle the growing issue of white supremacy in the U.S.
The candidate was asked directly how he would combat white supremacy if he was the district attorney of San Francisco. To that end, Boudin sharted his answer with the audience in English and Spanish so everyone could be included in the discussion.
Before anything, Boudin started by discussing the history of the U.S. and the ingrained racism in the country.
“We need to start with a history that goes way back before this country,” Boudin told the audience. “We need to recognize that in this country, the United States, racism has very deep roots. Very deep.”
Boudin added: “So when you talk about white supremacy, that’s not a joke. That’s what’s happening today in the White House.”
Boudin told the audience that we can’t ignore racism and white supremacy, which is everywhere.
“That’s why I’ve committed toa whole series of policies that are on my website, to fight back against white supremacy and against racism,” Boudin said.
Boudin also committed to creating an immigration unit within the DA’s office to counter the issues facing the community.
His impassioned speech caught people’s attention across the U.S.
Project Rebound, the organization that hosted the forum, is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people to reenter society. Project Rebound helps people who were incarcerated by enrolling them in classes at the San Francisco State University and supports them on their journey. The organization strives to reduce recidivism rates through education and career building.
Boudin is the child of incarcerated parents. His mother and father were getaway drivers at the Brink’s robbery in Nanuet, New York in 1981. It was an armed robbery that led to the death of one Brink’s guard and two Nyack police officers. His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life while his father was sentenced to 75 years in connection to the crime. They were both members of the Weather Underground, a left militant organization.
Some people are celebrating Boudin’s unapologetic approach to discussing white supremacy and racism in the U.S.
Boudin ended his conversation about white supremacy and racism with a simple sentence.
“If we can’t name it, how are we ever going to beat it,” Boudin said.
Boudin has laid out how he plans to tackle racial disparities while in office.
Here are four points Boudin has committed to in his fight against racial disparity, according to his website.
Commit to transparent decision-making. The criminal justice system can’t be fair if it isn’t also transparent. And right now, it’s anything but. The office will publish data about the demographics of people stopped, arrested, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to increase the transparency and accountability of every agency involved in the system. There is no excuse for obscuring this information from public view, and by forcing us to grapple more seriously with the racist outcomes the system produces, we will be better equipped to change them.
Require a racial impact statement in every case. The racist outcomes produced by our criminal justice system will be less tolerable when decision-makers are regularly forced to confront them. Accordingly, prosecutors will be required to state on the record–in open court and before the judge–the racial bias statistics relevant to the stage of the case being addressed. For example, before asking that an African American defendant be detained prior to trial, a prosecutor must state on the record the percentage of African Americans in jail on pretrial detention and the percentage of African Americans who reside in San Francisco. Before making a sentencing recommendation, a prosecutor must state the disparity in sentences among Black and White defendants.
Implement race-blind charging and plea bargaining. We should do everything we can to make sure that neither explicit nor implicit biases impact decisions made by the District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors will not know the demographic information of people before filing charges. The office will explore applying the same process for plea bargains, having a second prosecutor review a file, blind to demographic information, before making an initial plea offer.
No more prosecuting racist gang enhancements. When a person is convicted of a felony, they may be sentenced to time in prison. Under Penal Code § 186.22, part of the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP Act), prosecutors can seek additional prison time beyond that received for the underlying felony when the person accused of the crime is found to be gang-involved. But here’s the thing: This mechanism, known as a “gang enhancement,” is racist, ineffective, and unnecessary.
For Boudin, the integrity of the entire judicial system is questioned when racism prevails.
“When our criminal justice system treats people differently based on the color of their skin, the integrity of the entire system is undermined,” reads Boudin’s website. “Individuals and entire communities come to distrust law enforcement, making our city not only less just, but also less safe. Eradicating racism from our society is a long project, and one we need to take on much more seriously than we have. The criminal justice system, capable of producing incalculable harm, is an important place to start.”
Some people are thankful for someone who is willing to move the conversation forward using inclusivity.
Boudin’s plan is bold and has voters excited as the Nov. 5 election for the San Francisco district attorney fast approaches.
You can watch the full video below and see what Boudin has planned.
What do you think about Boudin’s plan to tackle white supremacy and racism?