AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – On Nov. 14, an 18-year-old man was shot and killed in Aurora. The teen’s family said it was a tragic accident.
While Aurora police have yet to identify the victim, Aquilina Ibanez told CBS4 it was her son David Ibanez who was killed near East 33rd Place by someone he knew. Police said Abel Vargas was arrested in connection with the case, and now he’s facing a charge of manslaughter.
Aquilina said her son and Vargas were high school friends, and they were at a car meet together that night.
“When you talk about an innocent bystander, he was so innocent,” said Aquilina. “I know for a fact that this boy did not intentionally try to hurt my son. It was an accident… it was a tragic accident.”
Aquilina said the gun Vargas had was mishandled. She said the bullet hit David at point blank range. She had to confirm with police it was her son’s body by identifying the tattoo on his forearm and his birth marks.
David just graduated from Thornton High School in May. He played several sports, including baseball, golf, football and basketball. Aquilina said it was his million dollar smile that he was known for, and she believes he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He was always my comforter. He always calmed me, and made me feel so secure,” she said. “Anything he picked up he mastered it. People loved to witness his athletic ability, to see him in action, he literally had people gravitating to him, of all kinds, young and old.”
David recently started working at a pizza shop. Aquilina said he was planning on becoming a firefighter.
“He was just a gift, everywhere he went,” she said.
A tragic accident which took away the energy that was David — his funny spirit, his genuine character. Aquilina said it’s all the memories and stories about her son that are keeping her going, because she knows he left his impact on many.
“I want people to talk about David and bring laughter to the room,” she said. “I know that my boy was not intentionally hurt, and even though he’s never coming back, it doesn’t mean that we can’t remember him. In the end I lost my truest love.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with David’s funeral expenses. They hope other parents will talk to their kids about gun safety, and using guns properly.