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Friends, Family Describe ‘Senseless’ Shooting That Killed Sandy Mother

SANDY, Utah – A young family was torn apart by what family members called a “senseless crime” committed by a 14-year-old boy.

Police said Aliani Mejia Marin was shot and killed Wednesday night at a Sandy mobile home park, and the teenage suspect has been taken into custody.

Friends and family described Marin as a wonderful friend, sister and wife, who was truly happy with a loving husband and newborn son.

“There are no words,” said Luis Martinez at the loss of his high school sweetheart and wife.

“She was a good woman, I loved her very much,” Martinez shared in Spanish. “I have to try to move on for our son. She would want that.”

Martinez said Marin picked him up from work Wednesday and the couple was coming home to their 4-month-old baby boy.

Aliani Mejia Marin and her 4-month-old son.

As they pulled into their mobile home park near 212 West Eastgate Drive in Sandy, Martinez said two teens came out of a home, yelling and either texting or recording on their cellphones.

Next thing he knew, Martinez said a third teen showed up, waving a gun and opened fire.

At some point, Martinez said he managed to get out of the car and push the shooter to the floor. Martinez said that instead of firing at him, the shooter fired at the car.

“I don’t think he wanted to shoot me,” Martinez said explaining that he was at close range of the shooter. “Whether or not they meant to, it’s too late. They took her life.”

Martinez said he heard about four shots and the last hit Marin, who was inside the car as she attempted to pull away.

“He shot from behind the right [passenger’s side]. The bullet went into the car, hit her in the back and came out through her shoulder,” Martinez explained.

Martinez said the attack may have stemmed from an incident a few weeks back. Martinez said one of the teens was bullying his younger sisters and he stepped in to confront the teen.

Officials with the Sandy Police Department are investigating the incident. Police only confirmed on Thursday that the victims and 14-year-old suspect knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood.

They also said they are interviewing multiple witnesses who saw the exchange.

The shooter is in custody and officials said he returned to the area and they were able to take safely arrest him.

“It’s very tragic, it’s the second one of this type, that we’ve had recently,” said Sgt. Clay Swensen with the Sandy Police Department, explaining officers responded to another shooting involving teenagers a couple of months ago.

Marin’s family said it’s a senseless crime that left a newborn without his mother.

“I don’t know what they were thinking. They made the biggest mistake they could ever make without knowing it,” said Delani Figueroa, Marin’s friend. “Her leaving this world really impacted everyone, but it’s going to impact her baby the most … because he needs his mother.”

Police were investigating where the teen got the gun and working to determine the charges he will face.

A GoFundMe account* has been set up to cover funeral expenses.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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