Grand jury indicts teen in Thornton 16-year-old's death

Suspect named almost 7 months after shooting
Posted at 10:33 PM, Apr 11, 2017

THORNTON, Colo. -- An Adams County grand jury has indicted a teenager in connection with a shooting that killed a high school girl at a house party nearly seven months ago.

Angelo Alvarez, 18, was indicted on one count of first-degree murder with extreme indifference and five counts of attempted first-degree murder with extreme indifference. Court records state that he was "firing a handgun into a crowd of people of people gathered outside" on Sept. 17, 2016.

Haley Vargaz, 16, was shot in the back and pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after.

Alvarez is being held without bond in the Adams County jail. Even though Alvarez was 17 years old at the time of the crime, the district attorney is charging him as an adult.

Thornton police had said they had trouble making an arrest after the shooting because witnesses scattered and then refused to cooperate with the investigation.

"This is Haley's bedroom. It still smells like her," said Emelda Vargaz, Haley's mother, as she walked into her daughter's room, which she has kept the same since the day Haley died. "I thought I could pack it up, but I couldn't."

When Haley Vargaz was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with Luekemia, her mother said.  Since then, she had volunteered at a local hospital, and planned to go into the medical field to help others survive what she did.

"She fought for her life and won, only for another tragedy to take it," said Emelda Vargaz, who was frustrated the investigation took months, with people willing to tell her what happened, but not to tell police. "Nobody wanted to come forward. I started to tell people 'If you can't come forward with where you got [the information], don't tell me.'"

Alvarez's defense attorneys have not returned Denver7's calls for comment, but court records show they are trying to get the case moved into the juvenile system. He is scheduled to be in court next Tuesday.

"I've been waiting for this moment, and it's here," said Emelda Vargaz, who said the trial will be difficult, but she wants justice for her daughter. "His parents will still have their son. He'll just be in jail, but still alive. I'll never have my daughter back."

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