Family mourns loss of Salpointe High Senior
For a Tucson mom, the start of the new year feels like a bad dream.
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos & Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- 17-year-old Carlos Sandoval was like any other senior in high school. He wanted to hang out with his friends on New Year's Eve. But his family never imagined that his life would come to an end after a senseless tragedy.
Deputies believe Keanu Castaneda, 19, is responsible and was arrested early Saturday morning morning and charged with first degree murder after the shooting at the 49er Country Club on Tucson's east side.
KGUN 9'S Valerie Cavazos spoke with the victim's mother, who said that she had texted her son a few times that afternoon and told him to check in with her from time to time when he arrived at his friend's house. She said at about 8 o'clock she texted him again, but didn't get a reply and that's when she began to worry. Deputies met with her about an hour later with the devastating news.
"His dad says he's at home and thinking any moment the doors going to open and he's going to walk through it and he's not," said Jay Gonzales, a friend of the family. This tight knit community is in shock today as word spread that Carlos Sandoval was shot and killed.
Acting as a spokesman for the family, Jay Gonzales says he was once Carlo's little league coach. He and the family describe Carlos as a thoughtful kid who was on his way to do great things. "He was an honor student at Salpointe and a month ago he had an entrance interview at Harvard. He did a lot of charity work .. Dinners to homeless, helped special ed kids and things like that. He was a kid who you just felt, I want my kid to be like him."
Carlos' mom tells KGUN 9 that her son was working to save money to pay for college and that he wanted to go to law school.
His parents were at the home today in tears and disbelief. "They wanted people to know that this is so off the chart that they can't begin to describe it," said Gonzales.
The parents of the teens who lived at the house tell me they were in San Diego on vacation. One of the half dozen teens at the party described the scene that afternoon. He said of a couple of guys showed up, pointed a gun at Carlo's head and demanded everything he had -- and when Carlos did not comply -- Carlos was shot. He said he did not think the person holding the gun would pull the trigger. Chip Travers is the father of one of the party goers. He says he heard the shots fired near his home when the suspect fled the scene. Bullets hit his son's car and the suspect sped away ... leaving the tragic scene behind. "To see a kid go down and the sorrow the parents have to go through. It's ridiculous. It's just not right," said Travers.
Gonzales said, "There's no other way to take it when something like this happens. It's so unexpected and so awful. It's such a nightmare."
Deputies say they are still looking for one person who fled the scene and know who he is.