Things That Matter

13-Year-Old Keyla Salazar Stayed Behind To Help A Relative Who Walked With A Cane And Now Her Family Is Mourning Her Death

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.

Credit: @TatianaYSanchez / Twitter

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. 

Credit: @itsjodarling / Twitter

”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.

READ: An Alleged White Supremacist Took The Life Of 6-Year-Old Steven Romero At California’s Garlic Festival And Our Hearts Ache

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at