"Our hearts are broken into a million pieces. We love you, Desiree," a tribute posted by her cheer team read.
Trigger Warning: The following content contains mentions of gun violence, which may be distressing to some readers.
A popular high school cheerleader in Arizona was tragically killed over the weekend as she was leaving a home party. Just after midnight, there was a gunshot near 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road. The perpetrator or suspects are still at large according to the authorities. The Phoenix Police Department named Desiree Rivas as the victim, according to a press release. KPNX-TV announced just after midnight on Sunday, May 14, Desiree, a 17-year-old junior in high school, was declared dead at the scene outside a Phoenix residence. Her death was also announced on Instagram by her cheerleaders at Cesar Chavez High School.
Gun violence doesn’t always look like a mass shooting. Far too often, it looks like a party or gathering turned violent when guns are brought into the mix.— Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari (@District7PHX) May 16, 2023
My heart breaks for Desiree Rivas & her loved ones. We must pass laws to prevent these tragedies. https://t.co/tlnsjz8fzB
Desiree's father described her as "a beautiful person and amazing soul" during a Monday night vigil for the victim. "She served as an example for everyone. She was someone you wanted to be around," her father added according to PEOPLE. "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. 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," the Instagram tribute posted by the cheer team reads.
Large vigil happening right now for 17-year-old Desiree Rivas who was tragically shot and killed over the weekend while leaving a house party. The suspect(s) is still on the run. Anyone with info is asked to contact Phoenix Police e @FOX10Phoenix pic.twitter.com/FCbBgtkeja— Stephanie Bennett (@StephBennettTV) May 16, 2023
The student community from Cesar Chavez High School is grieving and is in shock after the incident. "Sunday morning, I woke up and it was just all-over social media. I didn't really know what happened, they were just saying RIP," one student shared per 12News. Another student who is worried about gun violence shared, "I was just shocked. It's just sad like it could happen to any of us, you can't even have a party anymore without guns getting involved."
The teen was murdered in suspicious circumstances while the authorities are giving it their best shot to trace the assailant. Brian Francis, a neighbor, said, “I don’t want my kids to ever be in a bad situation, you know, where it’s not their fault and they’re innocent there, and other people’s bad decision-making at the time, is just wrong. Just wanted to say God bless you and my condolences to you and your family. Keep your guys’ heads up and never forget about her.”
Another neighbor as per Arizona Family said, “It’s just sad, you know, especially on Mother’s Day something like this happening. I was telling my kids, bullets don’t have a name on them. Bullets can go to anyone.” In a statement shared with 12News, Phoenix Union High School District stated, "I can confirm that she was one of our students and a member of the cheer squad. As you can imagine, it is a devastating day for many at Chavez HS." They further stated that they have provided support on campus and "will work with her family as much as possible to help in any way we can."
Tears, music, and memories were shared Monday as loved ones honored Desiree Rivas.— Ashley Holden (@ashleyvholden) May 16, 2023
The 17-year-old was shot and killed early Sunday morning. Police believe she was leaving a house party near 91st Ave. and Lower Buckeye when she was shot. No arrests have been made, and what led… pic.twitter.com/fVTstVnakx
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call Phoenix Police or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish.
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @cchs_spiritline