A bullet through the jaw left a Texas woman unable to speak, but she led police to her accused shooter without saying a word before dying, San Antonio investigators say.
Klauda Canales, 23, was riding in a car with friends on Aug. 31, sitting in the backseat with her boyfriend, investigators said in an arrest affidavit.
Christian Eric Rios, 19, was in the front passenger seat while his girlfriend drove the group around, drinking and smoking marijuana.
Rios and Canales’ boyfriend had taken Alprazolam, documents said, an anti-anxiety drug sometimes abused for the sense of euphoria it can give.
The group stopped at a gas station before driving to a parking lot near Rios’ apartment and, along the way, he rolled down a window and fired a handgun into the air, investigators said.
After arriving at the parking lot, Rios pulled out the handgun again, investigators say, and aimed it at his girlfriend’s head. He pulled the trigger but nothing happened.
Rios got out of the car and “adjusted” the gun, documents said. Now it would fire.
This time he aimed at Canales. She threw a hand up to protect herself and the bullet tore straight through, striking her in the jaw, police said.
Canales’ boyfriend exited the car and confronted Rios. The driver left them there, and headed to a hospital with Canales in the backseat, the documents read.
Canales underwent reconstructive surgery and couldn’t talk, but was able to communicate with police by typing and signing, according to investigators.
While in the hospital, she typed out what happened, police said. She accused Rios of shooting her and signed her name on a photo of him provided by police.
Ultimately, Canales was unable to recover and died Sept. 19 at the hospital due to her injuries, documents read.
Rios is charged with murder, according to police.
Gun violence in the US
Thousands of people die every year from firearm injuries in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Firearm injuries are a serious public health problem,” officials said. “In 2020, there were 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States – that’s about 124 people dying from a firearm-related injury each day.”
Firearm-related injuries were one of the top leading causes of death for people ages 1 to 44 in 2020, the CDC reported.
“More than half of firearm-related deaths were suicides and more than 4 out of every 10 were firearm homicides,” the CDC says.
The impact of gun violence, however, goes beyond the death toll, experts said.
“The effects of firearm violence extend beyond victims and their families,” according to the CDC. “Shooting incidents, including those in homes, schools, houses of worship, workplaces, shopping areas, on the street or at community events can affect the sense of safety and security of entire communities and impact everyday decisions.”