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Teen killed in drive-by was innocent bystander

Aliyah Garcia, 18, was shot and killed in a reported drive-by shooting in the South Valley Thursday night

Aliyah Garcia, 18, was shot and killed in a reported drive-by shooting in the South Valley Thursday night.

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

Aliyah Garcia was sitting in her friend’s car outside a South Valley home, talking on the phone with her mom, when there was a spray of bullets.

A view of the 1700 block of Atrisco SW, where 18-year-old Aliyah Garcia was killed in a reported drive-by shooting Thursday night, according to a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman

A view of the 1700 block of Atrisco SW, where 18-year-old Aliyah Garcia was killed in a reported drive-by shooting Thursday night, according to a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

“I’m shot,” she said, according to family members.

That phone call was the last time her mother heard her voice.

Garcia, 18, died at a hospital after she was struck in a drive-by shooting Thursday night that Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies say wasn’t intended for her.

It has left her family in shock.

“The family is hurting,” her uncle Raymond Ballejos said in an interview Friday morning. “She didn’t deserve this.”

Ballejos said Garcia was a student at the Robert F. Kennedy Charter School and had previously gone to Truman Middle School.

Deputies are looking for the suspected shooters and asked anyone with information on the case to call 967-5615.

Map of Garcia shootingYvette Morales lives with her family at the home where the shooting happened around 9 p.m. in the 1700 block of Atrisco SW.

She said she believes her son was the target of the shooting. She said he was outside their home talking to a friend, who had brought Garcia along.

Her son noticed a car driving in their direction, when the car’s lights were turned off, then back on as two men opened fire.

Family members heard about 15 shots, one of which hit Garcia in the stomach.

Morales ran outside and saw Garcia in the passenger seat screaming.

“She was screaming, ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot,’ ” Morales said. “She was just moaning.”

Garcia’s friend tried to start driving her to the hospital, but both of his passenger-side tires were flat and a bullet had gone through the engine block. He turned around and waited for police, Morales said.

They arrived almost immediately, and Garcia was rushed to the hospital.

An hour later, Morales said, deputies told her it was a homicide investigation.

“(The bullet) wasn’t for her, definitely not for her,” said Morales’ daughter, Marissa Gonzales. “She has nothing to do with it. They were trying to get the guys and not her.”

She said she did not know what her brother might have done to anger anyone, but she also believed he might have been the target.

Gonzales said that her 4-year-old brother was looking out a window when the shots were fired toward their house and that her grandmother’s bedroom window is nearby. She said either could have easily been shot, as well.

“They have no morals; they have no respect,” she said of the shooters. “They didn’t really care who they were going to shoot or kill. They were just intending to kill someone.”

Ballejos said Garcia was quiet, liked ramen noodles and watching movies with her dad.

“She was just a happy girl; she loved her family. She was outgoing,” said her aunt Tiffany Garcia.

The family was working on making funeral arrangements Friday.

Tiffany Garcia said Aliyah Garcia loved being with her family and her little brother, and lived with her mom.

“She wasn’t the type of girl who had enemies, or anything like that,” she said.

Ballejos said that Garcia’s mom is in shock and that her daughter’s death hasn’t hit her yet, especially because she heard the whole shooting on the phone.

“Right now, as we speak, I bet that’s what’s playing through her head. Her daughter’s conversation with her, that’s the last conversation she’s going to have with her,” Ballejos said. “I know I would be replaying that in my head if it were my kid.”

Ballejos said Garcia was a homebody and almost never went out.

“I wish she would have just stayed home that one night,” Ballejos said.

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