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Crime News Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them

Yolanda Saldivar Hostage Negotiator Remembers Traumatic Call: “Bad Things Could Happen”

Larry Young of the Corpus Christi Police Department grew emotional when recollecting March 31, 1995, the day Tejano singer Selena was murdered at a Texas hotel. 

By Jax Miller

Authorities tasked with talking convicted murderess Yolanda Saldívar out of killing herself give their account of events in Oxygen True Crime’s original series, Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them.

Larry Young Recalls the Day of the Murder

How to Watch

Watch Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them on Oxygen and Peacock. 

Hostage and Crisis Negotiator Larry Young of the Corpus Christi Police Department led a law enforcement team assigned to safely apprehend Yolanda Saldívar, the woman later convicted of killing Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez at a Days Inn hotel on March 31, 1995.

Police were called to the hotel at around noon, when Saldívar retreated to her red GMC pickup truck and stayed parked in the hotel parking lot with a loaded gun pointed at herself.

“I got the call via pager, responded to it, parked across the street, on scene within about 15 minutes or so,” Young recalled in Selena and Yolanda about the day of the homicide.

At the time, Young was aware that inside the vehicle was an armed woman threatening suicide.

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“As I’m walking across the street, just kind of mesmerized by the hundreds, if not thousand people or so that surrounded this hotel,” Young continued. “Media’s everywhere, and that’s never happened before that I’m aware of in Corpus Christi.”

The stand-off between Yolanda and law enforcement would last more than nine hours.

“Bad Things Could Happen”

While listening to the 1995 recordings — obtained and shared in Selena and Yolanda — negotiator Larry Young grew emotional when asked about his thoughts after listening back to his and Saldívar’s correspondence. A distressed Saldívar cried, repeating phrases such as “Larry, I am so sorry” as Young tried convincing her to put down the firearm.

“It’s not really a pleasant memory,” Young admitted. “You know, you really are starting a conversation with someone who’s at their worst.”

The tapes played Young and Saldívar’s back-and-forth as Selena and Yolanda shows footage of the hectic 1995 scene, filled with heavily armed police presence and lit by floodlights after nightfall. There, Young tried convincing Saldívar that life was worth living.

At one point, Young told Saldivar, “It’s not that you don’t want to live; it’s just that you’re hurting.”

“Then you’re trying to gain a rapport with them,” a tearful Young told Selena and Yolanda. “And you hope it’s effective. ’Cause if it’s not, bad things could happen.

Selena Quintanilla and Yolanda Saldivar featured on Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them

The Danger Posed On-Scene

Young and others knew the risk that Saldívar might end up dead, especially because the gun she pressed against her head was loaded, Young recalled to producers.

“If it’s cocked, anything could — she could turn around, and someone startles her, and [she] shoot herself in the head,” was one scenario Young proffered.

Saldívar’s mental state was put into question, especially because she said she was scared and regretful for fatally shooting the 23-year-old woman commonly known as the Queen of Tejano Music. Ultimately, officers were successful in safely apprehending Saldívar and taking her into custody, according to Prosecutor Carlos Valdez.

“About 9:30, 9:20, that evening, she’s finally talked out of the truck,” said Valdez.

Watch the limited series Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them, on Oxygen and Peacock.