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Court docs: Monte Vista girl shot and killed while making TikTok videos, three arrested

MONTE VISTA, Colo. (KRDO) -- Three people face multiple charges after a juvenile female was shot and killed. According to court documents obtained by 13 Investigates, the victim died while making TikTok videos in a Monte Vista home.

The Monte Vista Police Department said two juvenile females and an adult, 21-year-old Emiliano Vargas, were arrested in connection to the victim's death. Vargas faces charges of providing a handgun to a juvenile, a class-four felony in Colorado.

According to court documents, Vargas told police he wasn't at the house when the shooting happened.

According to the arrest affidavit, officers were dispatched to the 300 block of Monroe St. at 4:26 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7 At the scene, officers found the victim unconscious and not breathing. Emergency Medical Services arrived and confirmed, that "there were no vital signs or signs of life from the victim."

Investigators later determined she had been shot in the head.

Investigators noted the firearm, a Glock 19-9mm, was on a bed in the room where the victim was found. Responding officers determined the position of the gun wasn't consistent with the possibility of the victim holding the firearm when she fell.

While being interviewed, one of the suspects said "it just happened," initially saying she did not see the one accused of shooting the gun picking it up, but she did see the victim get shot and fall to the ground.

The arrest affidavit for Vargas outlines what led up to the death of the underage victim. In the initial investigation at the scene, police spoke with the two juveniles and the homeowner Madelyn Padilla. They determined the firearm belonged to Vargas, Padilla's grandson. He legally purchased it.

Investigators say the juveniles were handling the gun and making TikTok videos at the time of the shooting. According to the affidavit, the three juveniles were hanging out and making the videos when one of them, the reported girlfriend of Vargas, showed the others his gun. The affidavit states that she took the "clip" out of the gun before handing it to one of the other teens.

On Aug. 8, investigators reviewed one of the suspect's phones and located the TikTok videos made in the moments before the shooting. In the initial investigation, one of the suspects had told police the videos wouldn't be on that phone. According to the affidavit, the video made immediately before the shooting shows the victim dancing while one of the suspects can be seen in the background "fiddling with something on the bed." In that video, the position of where the suspect is standing in the room is exactly where she was found laying by police.

According to the affidavit, police received a call from a juvenile who said she had been told one of the suspects was messing around with the gun and had thrown it to the other suspect who "caught the gun and did not know how to hold the gun and fired it."

After speaking again with Padilla at her work. During that interaction, the affidavit states that police told Padilla how important it was they got the truth. She told investigators after work she would speak with them to see if they had any other information about the incident.

Later that day, the affidavit says Padilla and one of the suspects arrived at the police department. The girl was crying and told investigators she "wanted to tell the truth" and was "ready to say who shot" the victim.

In the affidavit, investigators asked her to clarify if the other suspect had accidentally pulled the trigger on the gun. She told investigators she didn't see the suspect pick up the gun but did see her shoot the victim. When pressed further, the teen told police "it could be an accident" but when asked again she said she saw the suspect "point and fire the gun" at the victim.

Below is a redacted version of the statement this teen suspect gave to police:

According to the affidavit, police asked her to go into more detail as to why the suspect had access to the gun. She told police that Vargas allowed the other suspect to have access to it because he "trusts" her. She went on to say he keeps it visible and unlocked on a top shelf in a room he shares with the other suspect, his reported girlfriend.

In the affidavit, Padilla had told investigators one of the suspects lives with Vargas and shares his room, with permission from her parents. She also said that suspect is almost 18.

According to the affidavit, the TikTok account for one of the juveniles had a picture of one of the juveniles pointing a gun at one of the other juveniles. This was in May.

13 Investigates learned that Vargas was also arrested in April 2021 for the delinquency of a minor, also a class-four felony.

However, in September 2021, former 12th Judicial District Attorney Alonzo Payne offered Vargas a plea deal down to harboring a minor charge, a misdemeanor. Court records say Vargas spent no time in jail. Vargas was also not given a probation sentence. He was ordered to pay a $50 fine.

It is unclear if his current charges and prior charges are connected to the same minors.

According to the Monte Vista Police Department, the two juvenile suspects were arrested for Reckless Manslaughter, C.R.S. § 18-3-104(1)(a), and Possession of Handgun by Juveniles C.R.S. 18-12-108.5(1)(a) and will be held at the Pueblo Youth Detention Center.

Vargas was booked into the Rio Grande County Jail and being held on a $20,000 cash or surety bond.

In a statement on Facebook, the police department reminds the public of a law that requires firearms to be properly and safely secured to prevent access by juveniles.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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