DELANO, California (KGPE) — A Delano family is coming to grips with the death of not only a young family member, but also the death of a close family friend.
Five people were shot Thursday around 7:20 p.m. when a man drove up to a home by 22nd Avenue and Oleander Street. Police say the suspect opened fire at a birthday party happening in the front yard. In total, five people got hit in the gunfire.
Anabel Aguilar was one of three adults shot, getting a bullet in the leg. Her 12-year-old niece, Elayna, also was shot, as was her friend’s 11-year-old daughter, Makeliah. Both died at the scene.
Talking with Aguilar Friday afternoon, she said she felt a little guilty.
“I feel like I’m responsible for it because it was my house,” Aguilar said.
She said there were about 12-to-15 people — mostly kids — at the birthday party. She said the gunfire erupted after she went down the water slide she got for the party.
“I came down the water slide, stood over there by the gate and said, ‘Ok, who’s next, who’s next?’ We didn’t get to [find out who’s] next,” Aguilar said. “Then I got shot…I go, ‘You guys, run inside, everybody down.’ My niece was right here on the floor, that’s all I remember.”
Police say the suspect was driving a tan late model four-door vehicle, similar to a Toyota Camry or Corolla. Police Chief Robert Nevarez said the evidence points to a gang-related shooting and adds investigators have hit a roadblock.
“This is another shooting where many of the persons that were present are failing to cooperate with police. It makes it very difficult for us to solve these cases and break up this cycle of violence,” he said.
Aguilar argues her family was cooperating when police were at her home and doesn’t believe it’s gang-related.
She had this to say when asked what she’ll miss most of Elayna and Michaela, “Their smiling faces, they were so lovable.”
Elayna’s family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses like funeral costs, you can find that by clicking here. Another campaign has been set up by Makeliah’s family as well, you can find it by clicking here.
Anyone with information about this shooting can call Delano Police at 661-721-3377. You can also call their tip line at 661-721-3369, you can remain anonymous.