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A Final Wish Granted for Teen Killed at Garlic Fest

Keyla Salazar's family to get puppy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2019 9:30 AM CDT
Keyla Salazar.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – A 13-year-old girl killed in Sunday's mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in northern California may have inadvertently saved a relative. Keyla Salazar was eating ice cream with her mother, stepfather, two younger sisters, and other family members when they realized they were hearing gunshots, not fireworks. Family members therefore ran for safety, but Keyla lagged behind with the mother of her stepfather, who uses a cane, aunt Katiuska Vargas tells the AP. Keyla was shot and died just a week before her 14th birthday. "If Keyla hadn't been there, her stepfather's mother would have been shot," Vargas says. She adds Keyla's stepfather was wounded as he turned back for her. He was shot in the arm, per the San Francisco Chronicle, which reports family members—to receive at least $41,000 from a GoFundMe—will now fulfill Keyla's final wish.

Just before heading to the garlic festival, the San Jose teen had cleaned her bedroom and the family's kitchen, leaving a note that read, "Now can we please buy a puppy?" After Keyla was shot, family and friends visited numerous hospitals before learning that her body was with the coroner. "I can't tell you how much pain we feel, losing someone at such a young age when you see them having a future and going to college," aunt Katiuska Pimentel tells the Chronicle, adding the family now plans to get a golden retriever. Stephen Romero, 6, was also killed in the shooting, along with 25-year-old Trever Irby (spelled Trevor Irby, per some sources). The medical assistant at a nursing home had recently moved to Santa Cruz from Romulus, NY, and attended the festival with his girlfriend, reports BuzzFeed. New York's Keuka College has planned a memorial for the 2017 graduate, per the AP. (More on the shooting here.)

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