Family of North Lake College victim demands answers
IRVING, Texas - The family of the young woman who was killed at North Lake College in Irving is upset that no one from the college or the police department has reached out to them.
Janeera Gonzalez’ family held a press conference Friday morning with community activist Carlos Quintanilla. They first thanked all those who sent them supportive messages and donations for her funeral expenses.
Gonzalez was killed on campus Wednesday by 21-year-old Adrian Torres. He shot her inside a common study area and then killed himself in a locker room shower.
Quintanilla said the Gonzalez family is disappointment with the way the college has responded to their daughter’s death. No one from the administration has called them yet.
“We are disturbed by the fact that several days have passed by and North Lake College has not had the decency, the compassion or the interest to reach out the family to say, ‘We hurt for you. We pray for you. Is there something we can do to help you?’” he said.
The family also said the Irving Police Department has not briefed them on the case or allowed them to see their daughter’s body.
Quintanilla said the family now wants to see a thorough investigation into the college’s security procedures. They want to see the surveillance video from the incident.
“We want to know how this individual can walk into a campus, stalk a young lady for multiple weeks without any response from security of the college. We want to know how there were no security officers to provide any kind of safety to this child,” he said.
However, early this week Gonzalez’ brother told FOX 4 she never mentioned any problems and he didn’t think the situation was serious until it was too late for her. Her friends were the ones who told her parents after her death that she had rejected Torres’ advances.
Quintanilla still thinks the family deserves a face-to-face meeting with the Irving police chief, the mayor of Irving and North Lake College’s president. He also suggested North Lake College change its name to the Janeera Gonzalez College.
"They demand immediate changes. They want to meet with the president of North Lake College today. They want to meet with the chief of police today. They want some detailed explanations and that's how they feel. That's their sentiments. And eventually, we want North Lake College to be called Janeera Gonzalez College. That's what she deserves. That's going to be her memorial and that's going to send a message that children will be protected." Quintanilla said.
“We don’t want to say it’s a Latino thing or a black thing or it’s an Anglo thing. But the way that this family has been treated is shameful,” he added.
North Lake College spokeswoman Ann Hatch said the college has offered its support and heartfelt sorrow to the Gonzalez family.
“The entire North Lake College family grieves with Janeera Gonzalez' family. Dr. Christa Slejko, North Lake's president, has sent private messages to Janeera's brother through social media, and he was able to contact her this morning. We know that the community's outpouring of support reflects how North Lake students and employees feel, too. Many faculty and staff members at the college are remembering Janeera as a bright and special young woman. She truly was part of the North Lake College family.
“The college has established a memorial area near the college library for those people who want to leave tributes for Janeera. While the campus is closed until Monday, access to the memorial area is now available, beginning this morning,” Hatch said in an email.
Gonzalez was set to graduate in May. She would have been the first person in her family to earn an associate’s degree. Her family said she actually turned in a report on gun control just a few days before her death.
There will be a vigil for her at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Irving High School.