FONTANA (CBSLA.com) — Friends and family held a vigil Saturday night, a year to the day Ashley Caldera was gunned down at her Sweet 16 birthday party.
Caldera and friends were at Northgate Park in Fontana around 11 p.m. that night when two men approached the group.
The two suspects, possibly teens, walked up and asked the group where they were from. Before anyone could respond, they opened fire on Caldera, killing her.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
A Facebook page — R.I.P. Ashley Ann Caldera — has nearly 2,500 likes.
KCAL9′s Rachel Kim attended the emotional vigil this evening. She reported “flowers, balloons and cards decorated Northgate Park. It was all to celebrate what would have been Caldera’s 17th birthday.”
Kim spoke to Caldera’s mother, Lorraine Valdez. “She touched so many people’s hearts. She was there for everybody. I just don’t want her to be forgotten. I want her to live on.”
Kim also spoke to Caldera’s stepfather, Ray Vasquez. “They were just all waiting, hanging out, getting ready to go. And these two guys came up and … just started shooting. There was no meaning to the crime. Ashley got gunned down in cold blood. They were cowards. All part of the same gang.”
Her family and friends say Caldera was not a gang member but an innocent victim of gang violence.
Three suspects have been arrested and are awaiting trial, says the family. A fourth suspect is still at-large.
Vasquez said, “The kids that were involved in this? Their parents get to see them. Their parents get to see them in court. Their parents get to see them in jail. We don’t get to see Ashley no more.”
Her mom added, “I will get to see her someday. I miss her so much. I just want justice.”
Friends and family released white and purple balloons while they sang “Happy Birthday.”