Grandparents of Las Cruces teen killed at party open up about losing their granddaughter

Jocelyn Trujillo- Pierce (on the right) was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Cruces. She was cared for by her grandparents. ( Courtesy: Amparo and Albert Munoz.)

The grandparents of Jocelyn Trujillo-Pierce say they didn’t know she had been shot and killed until they realized she had sneaked out of their home where she lived.

Amparo and Albert Munoz spoke to CBS 4 Monday afternoon.

They say their granddaughter was like any other teenager who liked spending times with friends. They say they still can’t come to terms with her death.

“We just can’t believe she’s not with us anymore,” Amparo said.

Brothers Julio Gutierrez-Barrera, 20, and Alonzo Barrera, 19, were arrested for the drive-by shooting that killed the 14-year-old girl. It happened Saturday after a fight at a party at 1421 Monte Vista Road, police said.

According to court documents, Lui Faamasino and Leon McQuaker hosted the party. New Mexico State University officials confirm that Faamasino and McQuaker are football players with the university. They remain on the roster, according to officials.

In the court documents, Faamasino and McQuaker told investigators they weren’t letting people they didn’t know into the party. Prior to the shooting, the men said they were called over by an unknown vehicle. McQuaker stayed behind while Faamasino approached the vehicle. McQuaker noticed someone in the car had a weapon and yelled “gun.” Faamasino didn’t realize what McQuaker was yelling until he heard the gun go off, court documents say.

Guitierrez-Barrera is the alleged shooter. The bullets made it inside the house where the party was taking place.

One of those bullets struck Trujillo-Pierce in the back of the head.

Her grandparents said they heard about what happened to her granddaughter from her friend who showed up at their doorstep to tell them the tragic news.

“What about Jocelyn?” Amparo asked. The teen’s friend told the grandmother Trujillo-Pierce had been involved in a shooting.

“I said no, Jocelyn is asleep, she said ‘no, look at the screen on her window, it’s off,’” Amparo said.

That’s when the teen’s grandparents realized she had sneaked out.

Investigators said Trujillo-Pierce was out celebrating her recent release from a juvenile detention center.

But Monday, her grandparents remembered their granddaughter as the outgoing person she was. They say she won many awards for karate and BMX bike riding.

They say they took their granddaughter on trips with them. The girl’s grandfather says he’ll remember the little things the two did together.

“We were sitting sometimes at home and she would say ‘dad, let’s go out for ice cream,’ so I would take her out for an ice cream and it’s just the little things like that,” Albert said. “We did everything we could you know, so she would be happy and have everything available to her so she could succeed. We are just devastated that someone would take her life like that.”

Gutierrez-Barrera was charged with an open count of murder, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy to commit a felony. Alonzo Barrera was also charged with tampering with evidence and conspiracy to commit a crime. Both brothers were booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center where they are initially being held without bond.

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