15-year-old girl accidentally shot, killed by family member

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 15:01:08-04

Almost a week after finding out they had lost their youngest to a freak accident, a Hillsboro family is reaching out to the community.

The Hillsboro Department of Public Safety said 15-year-old Jayla Riggs was accidentally shot by a 17-year-old family member over the holidays.

The family talked with Central Texas News Now on Friday and told us they need support from the community to move on.

Allysin Jimenez, Shonna Marks and Haley Jimenez are Jayla's sisters. They said there are so many things they will miss about Jayla.

"She was loveable. She always had a smile on her face," Allysin said.

"Very outgoing. Always positive," Haley said.

They said they never thought though that they would lose her, or have to miss her, this soon.

"I found out that night after it happened and, like I said, I was devastated. Like she said, it was unbelievable, really couldn't believe it, didn't want to believe it and wasn't going to believe it," Haley said.

It was Dec. 30 around 9:30 p.m. when Hillsboro Department of Public Safety investigators said the 15-year-old was shot in the head by her 17-year-old relative. They said it happened while she was playing video games in the living room of her home on the 1000 block of East Walnut Street.

The teen told investigators that he didn't know the gun he was playing with was loaded and that it was an accident.

Investigators said while they released the 17-year-old after interviewing him, they are still looking into the death.

Family spokesperson, Jeri Menchaca, said no residents owned the gun.

"So to pretty much put everything to rest, it was an accident. We know there are rumors flying everywhere but it was an accident because there's no way in the world, they were so close," Shonna said.

As they grieve the loss of their 15-year-old, they are offering support to their 17-year-old.

"And we'll continue to be there for him," Haley said.

"She wouldn't have it any other way, and we wouldn't have it any other way," Shonna said.

Now, they are sharing lessons learned about guns.

"Think about what could happen even just by playing with it, holding it," Haley said.

The family is also asking you to donate to a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs. They hope to raise $15,000.

"Just any. Any support they can give," Haley said.

All this as they remember their lover of singing who wanted to be a model, and could light up any place.

"I just know she's looking down on us smiling and wants everybody to keep her head up and just stay strong for her," Haley said.

Besides donating to the GoFundMe page, Menchaca said you can also help by going to a fundraiser family and friends are putting on.

Menchaca said they will host a barbecue on Feb. 3 at the Court House Square in San Saba at 11 a.m. She said proceeds will go toward burial and leave expenses.

Menchaca added that there will be a balloon release on Monday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. at Hillsboro Junior High, a viewing on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at Believers Church from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the funeral Wednesday, Jan. 10 at the Methodist Church at 2 p.m. All locations are in Hillsboro.

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