Citizen Staff Writer
Law and Order Report
Seventeen-year-old Roy David Fierros was shot dead outside a South Side Tucson convenience store Monday, and by Wednesday friends had built a shrine out of photographs, religious candles and empty beer cans and bottles of alcohol.
Not everyone in the neighborhood sees the shrine as a good idea.
Police said Fierros was shot when an altercation with members of a rival gang inside the Circle K on South 12th Avenue and West Drexel Road spilled into the parking lot.
William Buttler, 22, and three other men who did not want to be identified had been at the shrine outside the Circle K since before dawn Wednesday.
Friends for more than five years, Buttler said Fierros’ death made him “upset and angry.”
“This (shrine) is to say that we love and miss David and he’ll always be remembered.”
A woman standing nearby, however, was apprehensive about the shrine.
She said her 13-year-old son saw the shooting from the playground area of Wildcat Secondary School, a charter school at 5660 S. 12th Ave.
“He saw the whole thing,” the woman said. “He saw him get shot and lay there. Now he’s too afraid to come back to this school.”
The Citizen is not identifying the woman because to do so could also identify her son, who is a witness.
The woman said the shooting, the shrine and the neighborhood make her feel unsafe.
“Having a shrine like this so close to the school is almost glorifying the gangster lifestyle,” she said. “I think it’s actually a bad thing.”
In the past couple days, she has tried to enroll her son in a different school and hopes he can continue his education elsewhere.
“When I see the shrine, I get very sad,” the woman said. “Where were his parents? Parents have to get more involved, specially in an unsafe neighborhood.
“Even as a single mother with three children, I make sure we have dinner together and I keep them busy with dance classes or music classes. That’s what we have to do to remain a part of their lives.”
Fierros’ friends gathered around the shrine, sitting on plastic milk crates and listening to music blaring from their cars. They said they plan to be there for “a long time.”
“He was trying to be something, he was going to Pima (Community College) and working,” Buttler said.
Fierros – who went by his middle name, David – had enlisted in the military about a week ago, Buttler said.
Tucson police said officers have been patrolling the area because the shrine could potentially lead to more violence.
Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said, “We have to keep an eye out and make sure that, in such emotional time for the friends, it doesn’t escalate to more violence, especially from rival gangs.”