The life of 19-year-old Janessa Del Valle was tragically cut short on July 4 as America celebrated its national Independence Day.
The young woman from Bonita was killed while attempting to stop bullies from using the internet to body-shame her 13-year-old sibling.
Del Valle’s mother said that her daughters were expecting to meet with a couple of girls they believed to be responsible for the bullying when they left the family’s apartment together on Saturday.
“When they met up, they thought they were meeting two girls, but they ended up meeting a carload of four people,” Del Valle’s mother said.
Deputies said that the confrontation escalated into a fight in which Janessa was fatally shot.
Del Valle’s mother said that after shooting Janessa, the attackers then turned on her 13-year-old sister.
The attack took place in a parking lot at the 5100 block of Cedarwood Road in Bonita just steps from the Del Valle family’s home.
Janessa was a former high school athlete who had been studying at San Diego City College at the time of her death. Her mother said cyber-bullying was an issue that could impact any child.
“If you have children, and you see your children getting bullied, you need to do something about it—don’t think it’s innocent or it’s going to go away,” Del Valle’s mother said.
A search is now underway for Janessa’s killer(s), and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department is asking for any witnesses to call in tips.