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2 teens charged in death of 14-year-old killed making a TikTok video

Aaliyah Salazar's family believes the judicial system is more focused on the future of those charged, than the future Aaliyah lost.

MONTE VISTA, Colo. — When Aaliyah Salazar was killed on Aug. 7, her grandfather and guardian said his world stopped. 

"She could go into a store and come out with 20 new friends," Gary Salazar said over Zoom. "She was just that type of person. She loved people and people loved her." 

Aaliyah's family gathered in a Monte Vista parking lot and shared how she loved dancing and doing TikTok videos. The 14-year-old was making a video when she died. 

"It's hard, it's hard to put into words," said Aaliyah's father, William Salazar, of his loss. 

In addition to two juveniles, an adult is charged in connection with Aaliyah's death. Emiliano Vargas is charged with providing or permitting a juvenile to possess a gun. 

According to his arrest affidavit, he was not there when Aaliyah was killed, but at least one juvenile had easy access to his gun. 

The heavily redacted affidavit said police were told that juveniles were handling a gun and making videos on TikTok on Aug. 7. 

Police said they were able to obtain and watch a video from the moments before Aaliyah was shot in the head. It showed her dancing with someone "in the background fiddling with something." 

One of the teens later told police they saw another point the gun at Aaliyah and fire. 

That teen told police, "It could be on accident." 

"I believe it was on purpose," said several of Aaliyah's family members. 

While Aaliyah is not named in the affidavit, her family identified her. 

On Monday, two juveniles were charged with felony manslaughter and misdemeanor possession of a weapon. The maximum they could face is six years in Colorado's youth offender system.

"The frustration I've got with that is if you take a life you should have to pay for it dearly," Gary said. "Not with a slap on the hand and say don't do it again." 

Her family believes the system is too focused on the future of the teens charged in Aaliyah's death, and not on the fact that Aaliyah no longer has a future. 

On the same day the juveniles were charged, a new district attorney was announced in the San Luis Valley. 

RELATED: San Luis Valley gets new DA after previous one resigned amid controversy

Anne Kelley said over the phone she "looks forward to speaking with crime victims in these cases and having a chance to review them" when her appointment takes effect on Sept. 1.

The state attorney general's office is handling this case in the meantime, and they said they cannot comment on it because of a court order against pre-trial publicity. 



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