An Arizona teen cheerleader was gunned down and killed as she was leaving a house party on Mother's Day. Desiree Rivas, 17, was shot and killed close to Tolleson, Arizona in the early hours of Sunday morning. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots ring out and rushed to help the girl.
However, Rivas couldn't be saved. Rivas was pronounced dead at the scene outside a Phoenix home just after midnight Sunday, KPNX-TV reported. Rivas, a student of the Cesar Chavez High School in the nearby Laveen Village was a beloved student and a prominent member of the school's spirit squad. Her death has since left the community shocked.
Innocent Life Lost
Police were sent to the intersection of 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road just after midnight on Sunday, where they found the body of the teenage girl.
Police said a suspect remains unidentified while they investigate what led to the shooting.
Rivas' death was announced on social media by her cheerleaders at Cesar Chavez High School.
"It is with the heaviest of hearts that I post about the tragic loss of our amazing friend, athlete, and student Desiree. Our hearts are broken into a million pieces." the Cesar Chavez High School Spirit line said in a statement on Instagram. "May Dessy rest in peace and be surrounded by love and light. We love you, Desiree."
Neighbors said that they heard gunshots and rushed to help Rivas.
"I was in the bed and I heard these gunshots, and they were loud. It seems like they were right in my yard. They were so loud," April Stokes told FOX10.
"I was scared to get up because I didn't know where they were coming from, since they sounded so close."
"She did have friends that did stay behind and assist her, and I was there with her," another neighbor told CBS 5 after seeing Rivas. "We couldn't sleep at all last night. I couldn't sleep at all. I kept thinking about the mother and what she was going through," she added.
Community Mourns Death
Rivas' death has left her friends and family devastated. School officials confirmed her death in a statement sent to families earlier this week.
"Dear Cesar Chavez Families, It is with deep sadness that we share the tragic news about the passing of Desiree Rivas," said Principal Robert Grant. "Desiree was a beloved member of our student body and an active member of our spirit line. She will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her."
"Desiree passed away after being the victim of a senseless act of violence this past weekend. She loved her peers and was a compassionate and caring member of our student community. At this time, we share our love, support, and sympathy with Desiree's family and friends."
On Monday, almost 200 of her grieving friends and relatives came together for a vigil to remember the young cheerleader. Her teammates said that she crushed their hearts into a million pieces.
Several of her squad members performed her favorite routine, while others released balloons in her memory.
"She touched so many people. I mean, you never know how relationships are at school. They come home, and they don't talk about it because they're doing homework and stuff like that," her father Danny Revas said.
"This brought my spirits up a little bit. I have to make it through this week to make sure that everything goes well for her because I want to send her off properly."