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Three Arrested After Colorado Girl Fatally Shot While Filming TikTok Dance Video

Aaliyah Salazar and two friends were filming a TikTok video when one of them allegedly began playing with a gun that her reported 21-year-old boyfriend had given her. Salazar was shot and died.

By Dorian Geiger
7 Statistics About Shootings Incidents in America

A teenage girl was shot and killed while filming a TikTok dance video with two friends earlier this month, police said.

An adult and two teenagers have been arrested and charged in connection the deadly shooting of a 14-year-old girl who was killed earlier this month, KRDO-TV reported.

Authorities haven’t released the name of the juvenile victim, but her family has identified the slain teen as 14-year-old Aaliyah Salazar, KUSA reported.

Police responded to reports of a shooting on the 300 block of Monroe Street in Monta Vista, Colorado — about 150 miles southwest of Colorado Springs — shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 7.

An underage caller said she had been told that one of the girls in the case had tossed the pistol to the other, who "caught the gun and did not know how to hold the gun and fired it," per the case’s arrest affidavit.  

The shooting occurred at the home of the grandmother of Emiliano Vargas, 21, according to officials, who is allegedly the boyfriend of one of the teen suspects. The gun was bought legally, KRDO-TV reported.

Upon arrival, investigators found the victim unresponsive and not breathing, and she was pronounced dead on-scene. Authorities recovered a Glock 19-9mm from a bed at the home.

According to court documents cited by KRDO-TV, Salazar was shot while making a TikTok video in the presence of the other two girls.

After reviewing one of the teen suspect’s phones, authorities located the video that the trio had been filming before the shooting. Video footage showed the victim dancing while one of the other teens could be seen "fiddling with something on the bed," per case documents. 

Investigators say that, in the moments before the shooting, Vargas' teenage girlfriend pulled out a firearm, removed a “clip” and showed the gun off to the other two teens.

One of the teens also told authorities that they saw her point the pistol and fire. They later added that it could have been an “accident." 

“It just happened," one of the teenagers told investigators, the case’s affidavit alleged.

Vargas and the two teenage girls were arrested in connection with the incident. The two girls face reckless manslaughter charges. Vargas — who told authorities he wasn’t at the home at the time of the shooting — was charged with providing a handgun to a juvenile.

Vargas had previously been taken into police custody in April 2021 on the charge of delinquency of a minor, KRDO-TV reported. He was booked into the Rio Grande County Jail at that time on a $20,000 cash bond.

Her family told KUSA that they are concerned the girls are being charged as juveniles, since the maximum penalty will be six years.

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

The grieving grandfather added that his granddaughter will be remembered for her vigor and gregariousness. 

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

The state attorney general’s office, which is handling the case, has declined to comment while the investigation is pending.

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