The loved ones of a 14-year-old girl who was shot and killed while at a park with her friends held a vigil for her Friday night.
Natalie Hernandez was killed Monday night in Dallas when a dark-colored car drove up and fired on the car she was in. A 16-year-old who was with her was also hurt. Police still have few leads in finding whoever killed her.
Natalie’s friends and family gathered to honor her and are pleading for the public's help to track down her killer.
Natalie was like a stepdaughter to Monalisa Martinez.
“She was very goofy, funny, always smiling,” she said. “A beautiful young little girl.”
Martinez says the 14-year old was always over at her house with Martinez's daughter, Dalila Rojas. The girls have been best friends since seventh grade.
“She was very smart in school, always smiling and laughing,” Dalila said. “She always had jokes.”
Those closest to Natalie gathered for a candlelit vigil Friday at Crawford Park in Pleasant Grove to remember the high school freshman. Her family chose that park rather than the one where she was shot because they were unable to bear the pain of being there.
Dallas police say Natalie and three others were fired upon by four men in a vehicle that pulled up to theirs. The teens went to a nearby Conoco gas station on Buckner for help. Witnesses say Natalie collapsed as the gas station clerk called 911.
Those close to Natalie say they're not sure why she and her friends were targeted, but Dallas police and park security were asked to be at the vigil Friday as a safety precaution while investigators review surveillance video from the night of the shooting. They continue to look for who was responsible for Hernandez's death.
“It's very hard because how could they just be walking on this Earth while she's not here?” Dalila said. “How could somebody be so cruel to do something to an innocent girl?”
“We want this to actually just come to a close,” Martinez said. “The person really needs to serve justice.”
As they wait for answers, Natalie’s loved ones releasing balloons in her memory on the count of 14 for every year she lived.
Visitation and funeral services for the 14-year old are planned for next Monday and Tuesday in Pleasant Grove.