During vigil, community mourns 10-year-old girl shot by unknown suspect

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Jul. 22—ARVIN — Solemn silence descended upon North Hill Street on Wednesday night as scores of Arvin community members gathered to remember 10-year-old Liliana Jimenez, brutally gunned down Saturday night.

Tears descended on many faces as comforting hugs were passed around, grief illuminated by the flickering candles.

Jimenez's smiling face peeked out of a shrine made up of flowers, balloons, colorful stuffed animals and illuminated candles.

Chants of prayers in Spanish for the girl filled the neighborhood. The crowd murmured the same prayer, often bowing their heads.

Jose Pantoha knows the girl's mother and came to pay his respects.

"It's sad," Pantoha said. "She was so young."

Jimenez's brother, 12-year-old Christian Jimenez, also suffered many gunshot wounds and was rushed to Kern Medical after Saturday's shooting.

Both children were with their father when a shooter mounted the attack, Gabriela Lopez said. The father also became injured and was taken to Kern Medical.

Witnesses followed the shooter to Bautista Street on Saturday, before the perpetrator escaped. Arvin Police have not apprehended the shooter and have not named a suspect.

Lopez heard the gunshots. She said she and her husband heard multiple shots and then squealing tires.

"We need better policing, we need better cops," Lopez said. "I have two daughters of my own. When you see so many horrible things, it's not right."

Lopez said she believed that if the police arrived faster, the girl could have been saved.

At the end of Wednesday's ceremony, supporters came forward to place their candles in front of Liliana's picture. Spanish music filtered out as supporters grieved and held each other.

Fatima Navarro is a friend of the mother and came to the vigil.

"I came out to show my support," Navarro said. "I felt sad to imagine this happening to someone."

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