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Christina Salazar, 17-Year-Old L.A. Girl, Shot Dead Near USC; Shooter Leads Police on High-Speed Chase

Christina Salazar
Christina Salazar
Courtesy of Cynthia Secrest

Updated after the jump: Salazar's friends and family held a fundraiser to raise her burial costs on Saturday, where they told the Weekly that two neighborhood siblings had been arrested for the crime. LAPD confirms.

Update: A cousin describes Salazar's last moments.

A 17-year-old girl who was shot in broad daylight near the University of Southern California yesterday has been identified as Los Angeles resident Christina Salazar.

City News Service reports that the murder took place near Maple Avenue and East Adams Boulevard at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

The man who shot Salazar then led LAPD officers on a chase in a silver Ford Expedition SUV that lasted nearly half an hour -- but ended only a block from the spot where he committed the crime, at Maple and East 27th Street.

A couple girls who apparently knew the victim, both residents of Montclair (located much farther to the east of L.A. County), Tweeted their condolences yesterday:

The intersection where Christina Salazar was shot
The intersection where Christina Salazar was shot
Twitter
The intersection where Christina Salazar was shot
The intersection where Christina Salazar was shot
Google Maps

The identity of her killer has not been released. We'll update as soon as we get any additional information from the LAPD.

The coroner listed Salazar's birthday as August 17, 1993. If you knew the victim or know anything about her death, please reach out and contact us.

Update, March 3, 12:55 p.m.: Salazar's cousin, who says she wishes to remain anonymous "until the investigation is over," tells the Weekly in an e-mail that the 17-year-old was "shot from behind" on a trip to "the little market located on Adams and Maple."

This is our source's account of what happened:

"A cousin of ours lives in an apartment complex right across the street. ... After Christina was shot, she stumbled across the street to [the cousin's] apartment. She got to about the driveway and [the cousin] came out. Across the street is convalescent home, paramedics that were there seen Christina, ran to her and tried to stop the bleeding. And from what [the cousin] told family she was already dead. She had bled to death from the gun shot."

According to our source, Salazar is survived by her mother and four sisters, including her twin, Crystal.

Update: The two LAPD detectives investigating Salazar's murder haven't gotten back to us in the last few days, but her family gave us some updates at a fundraising event they held for the fallen 17-year-old on Saturday.

Two neighbors of the cousin who found Salazar -- 18-year-old Diana Garcia and her brother, 33-year-old Peter Garcia -- were taken into police custody following the shooting. But first, Diana was hospitalized for a gunshot wound to her leg.

Crystal Salazar, the victim's twin sister, says Diana and her friends had problems with Christina that dated back several years, mostly stemming from what she perceived to be "jealousy and envy."

Christina attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where she was hoping to score a GED, but the rest of her immediate family lives out in Chino. She had just visited them the weekend before her murder.

"On Sunday, we went and she picked out my prom dress," says Crystal. She adds that she and the rest of her sisters were laughing and joking the whole time, "like if God knew that was our last laugh."

The cousin who discovered Christina bleeding and speechless in front of her house at Adams and Maple lives two short blocks from the Garcias. She says Diana was released from jail (her brother is still there, under $1 million bail) and has been spotted in the area, though ABC News reported last Thursday that "the LAPD says they are being charged with murder."

Crystal says she thinks that eventually, "the brother took the blame," but that Diana "doesn't deserve to be out here."

The undisputed neighborhood story so far has been that Diana approached Christina with a gun. Her brother then supposedly took the gun from his sister, accidentally shot her in the leg and came after Christina. Update: It is not clear who, exactly, shot Diana in the leg.

We'll update as soon as we hear from the LAPD.

Update: Chase Bank is accepting donations for Christina's funeral at bank number 952430759. In addition, the family will be holding a car wash today -- Monday, March 7 -- at the intersection of Adams and Maple Boulevards, where Christina was shot.

The LAPD's Newton Homicide Division just confirmed to the Weekly that both Diana and Peter Garcia were initially arrested, and that Diana has since been set free.

The two detectives on the case, however, are still investigating the exact circumstances of the homicide.

Originally posted March 3 at 10:30 a.m.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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