17-Year-old student and cheerleader shot leaving house party

On Sunday, May 14, Phoenix community members experienced a tragedy when a student and cheerleader at Cesar Chavez High School, 17-year-old Desiree Rivas, was shot and killed while leaving a house party. The Phoenix Police Department’s news release indicated that they had responded to reports of shots fired in the neighborhood after midnight that day.

Neighbors shared the fear they felt when hearing the shots. April Stokes, who was in bed when the “loud gunshots,” recalled, “I was scared to get up because I didn’t know where they were coming from since they sounded so close.”

Love and heartache could be felt in the air the following day when friends and family members came together to honor Desiree’s short but impactful life at a candlelight vigil. The mourners filled the air with balloons, flowers, and photographs of her, along with fond memories they’ll cherish forever.

“She touched so many people,” her father Danny Rivas expressed as he noted how it lifted his spirits to see so many people coming together in her honor. “I have to make it through this week to make sure that everything goes well for her because I want to send her off properly.”

The Phoenix Police Department is actively seeking a suspect or suspects in the shooting and are strongly urging community members to call 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish if they have any information.