Shooting death of 18-year-old shocks Albuquerque community

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many in Albuquerque were shocked and heartbroken Monday to hear about the recent death of an Albuquerque Academy student.

On Monday, Albuquerque police named 18-year-old Jada Gonzales as the young woman who was shot and killed at a house party in northwest Albuquerque early Sunday morning.

Many are remembering her as an amazing young woman. She had just celebrated her 18th birthday. She was set to graduate soon, had plans to go to college at TCU, and she had worked as a camp counselor, all according to her mother’s post on GoFundMe, where she asked the community to help cover funeral expenses.

“This is the greatest pain I’ve ever known and not one I’d wish any parent to ever feel,” Jada’s mother posted.

On Monday, KOB 4 spoke with another Albuquerque mother who knows that pain very well. Victims advocate Nicole Chavez gave perspective on tragedies like these.

“It’s heartbreaking. The first thing I think of is their parents, that mom and dad that got that call that no one wants to get,” Chavez said.

She has been fighting for change ever since the death of her son, 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver, who was shot and killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting at an Albuquerque house party in 2015.

“I think that hearing those details, it’s very eerily similar and heartbreaking. It takes your breath away for a second because it’s like you’re reliving the details,” Chavez said.

She’s been warning about the dangers of house parties for years.

“It feels like I can talk until I’m blue in the face,” she said. “You don’t know who else is going to be walking into that party. It is not safe anymore, and these kids have so much trust within the community.”

She said young people are dying far too often in Albuquerque.

“It can be anybody. Crime and violence is affecting everyone. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what neighborhood you’re from. If you’re in gangs, not in gangs,” Chavez said.

For her and so many other parents, unimaginable losses are even more difficult during the holidays. On Monday night, Chavez said she was making luminarias with many other parents who’ve lost their children. They will take them to their children’s grave sites on Christmas Eve.

Chavez is again calling on state lawmakers to take action to both prevent this kind of violence and to hold offenders accountable.

Another legislative session starts on Jan. 3 in Santa Fe.

Chavez said there should be measures both parties can agree on.