Shooting victims, parents of 7-month-old, were working toward high school diplomas

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Monday, a grouping of balloons marking the spot where 19-year-old Kiara Austin and 20-year-old Brian Maxey lost their lives, fleeing from gunfire.

Maxey losing control of this silver sedan; their car going through this brick wall, into a canal behind The Parks at Fig Garden Apartments.

“There was a female on top of that car, administering CPR to a second female, who’d apparently been shot,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. “Our detectives have done an incredible amount of work, canvassing that neighborhood, looking for witnesses, looking for video.”

26 rounds fired. 

The suspects, gang members according to police, using an AR-style rifle and handgun.

Police say Austin, Maxey and their friends, were completely innocent.

The two also share a 7-month-old child; Austin has two other children.

“Children having to grow up in this world, without their mom and dad,” Dyer said. 

It’s a story Shawn Riggins knows and reminds himself of, daily.

“I’m in my 50s, and to be looking at people 18 to 25, who left this earth way too early.”

Riggins directs the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Conservation Corps, which serves young people through its vocational and education programs.

On his wall, funeral programs, from students he knew.

“And unfortunately we’re losing them to the streets,” Riggins said.

Riggins says, Maxey was a student in the program’s charter high school.

“He came to us to finish his high school diploma, I actually have his application sitting on my desk.”

Riggins says, Maxey wrote he wanted to go to college. He says Austin, was also trying to enroll.

“Who knows the potential snuffed out between him and his, and his girlfriend,” Riggins said.

Fresno Police say we are still down in shootings this year compared to last. 

Chief Dyer says, officials are also working to increase their presence at the apartments.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe.

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