FONTANA (CBS) — Her eyes were the introductory sparks to a sassy personality. But, on her 16th birthday, Ashley Caldera was taken from her family by gun violence.
Lorraine Valdez had to spend her Memorial Day making funeral plans for her daughter.
“I can’t believe she’s gone. I want her to walk through that door but I know it’s not going to happen,” her mother said.
The teenage girl was at Northgate park in Fontana Saturday night to meet up friends, before heading over to a friend’s home for a sleepover.
One of the girls with Ashley that night, who asked to not be identified, said two young guys who appeared to be in their late teens walked up to them at about 11 p.m.
The men asked where Ashley and her friend were from and, without even waiting for a response, opened fire on Ashley.
Her family and friends said Ashley had no gang ties. Her family said they believe the shooter didn’t even know who he was shooting.
“Coward, A straight coward. I mean there’s no other way to express it. He’s not even a man…a punk coward. Pretty much that’s all it is,” said Ashley’s father Ray Vasquez.
Ashley’s family is asking for the public’s help in finding who’s responsible for taking her away from them.
“If anybody knows anything, even if it’s a little something so we can put the pieces together, please help. Even if you hear from someone else – just anything – just reach out to us and help in any way you can,” said Ashley’s sister Crystal Rye.
So far, police have not released descriptions of the young men involved but people in nearby homes told Ashley’s family they saw a dark colored Honda, perhaps an Accord, in the area at the time of the shooting.
“I loved her. I wanted her to know I loved her. And that was my baby sister,” said her stepsister Vanessa Vasquez.
Her other stepsister Casandra Martinez added, “She was the only one that would like always keep me smiling when I was upset or mad. She would always tell me, ‘I’m here for you.’”