High school cheerleader Desiree Rivas was fatally shot in Phoenix over the weekend in an act of incomprehensible violence. The 17-year-old, a treasured member of her community and the student body at Cesar Chavez High School left a party near 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road and was found at the entrance of a dwelling with a single bullet wound. The tragedy of her unexpected death has left her family, friends, and local area reeling.
CCHS Spirit Line posted to Instagram an emotional tribute to Desiree: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I post about the tragic loss of our amazing friend, athlete, and student Desiree. Our hearts are broken into a million pieces.” This sentiment was echoed across social media as Desiree’s cheer team and fellow Cesar Chavez students bravely held a candlelight vigil at Cesar Chavez Park on Monday evening, paying homage to the beloved, spirited figure she was to everyone in her high school and the greater community.
Desiree’s father, Danny Rivas, at the vigil, paid tribute to his daughter: “She touched so many people. She was a role model to everybody. She was one of the people you wanted to be around.” That painful testimony serves as a remembrance of how Desiree had enriched the lives of all those who knew her.
Compounding the misery of the crime, Phoenix police officers still have yet to identify a suspect in the shooting. Witnesses have said multiple shots were fired near Desiree’s incident on the night of her death, and two young men were seen running across neighboring homes. But whether the boys fled the premises in fear or were those responsible remains unknown.
The death of Desiree Rivas leaves an immense chasm of sorrow that permeates her family, friends, and community. There is no doubt that her classmates, teachers, and loved ones will dearly miss the presence of the vibrant, cherished student.