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Arizona Cheerleader Fatally Shot Outside House Party, Gunman Remains At Large

Tolleson, AZ – A 17-year-old high school cheerleader was gunned down while leaving a house party early Sunday morning, according to police.

The attack occurred at a home near Lower Buckeye Road and 91st Avenue shortly after midnight on May 14, KPNX reported.

Police said 17-year-old Cesar Chavez High School junior Desiree Rivas was leaving the gathering when an unknown gunman fatally shot her.

Neighbor April Stokes said she was in her bed when the gunfire erupted, KSAZ reported.

“I heard these gunshots, and they were loud. It seems like they were right in my yard. They were so loud,” Stokes said. “I was scared to get up because I didn’t know where they were coming from, since they sounded so close.”

When she looked out the window, she spotted what appeared to be “teenage boys” running “from one house to the other,” Stokes told KSAZ.

Rivas succumbed to her wounds at the scene, KPNX reported.

Details regarding what led up to the shooting are unclear.

Police did not release any information regarding a potential suspect.

The Cesar Chavez High School Spirit Line confirmed the teen’s death in an Instagram post later on May 14.

“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 post read. “There will be extra counselors on campus tomorrow to help us all work thru this tremendous loss. May Dessy rest in peace and be surrounded by love and light. We love you, Desiree.”

Cesar Chavez High School (CCHS) released a statement two days later calling the teen’s death a tragedy.

“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,” CCHS said. “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.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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