Slain Anchorage teen’s mom marches against gun violence
Family and friends of a young woman fatally shot in December, when Anchorage police say two people opened fire on her party bus, took to local streets Saturday to fight the city's recent wave of gun violence.
Erica Lolesio held a handmade sign in Midtown Anchorage on Saturday, featuring photos of her 19-year-old daughter Juanita – and reminding people that she was fatally shot on Dec. 30.
Police have said that two suspects, Christopher Espiritu-Simpson and a 15-year-old male, unintentionally shot Juanita Lolesio in the head near Oklahoma Street and Boundary Avenue as the result of an unrelated “love triangle.” She died of her injuries in mid-January, prompting her mother to form the group Juanita Strong Forever in her memory.
On Saturday afternoon about two dozen people walked to busy Midtown intersections around the Mall at Sears chanting the group's slogan: “Stand up, stand strong – take 907 back!” Among their number were local representatives of gun-control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action.
Saturday’s march took place a week after a larger demonstration on the Delaney Park Strip, where hundreds of people joined Anchorage’s “March For Our Lives.” That event was part of a million-strong nationwide protest, organized by survivors of the Parkland, Fla. mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Kevin Kelleher contributed information to this story.
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