The 18-year-old girl was a model student at Lodi High School who gave a gift to her teacher every Valentine’s Day and Christmas break.
She loved snapping photos of her brothers and sisters while they were playing, capturing their smiles and laughter in single frames. Even while remaining focused on her own studies, she spent her spare time volunteering at her younger siblings’ school, always encouraging them to excel.
As the first one in her family to go to college, she dedicated herself to her studies to become a registered nurse.
All of these goals and plans were dashed in a single moment late Saturday night, when Angelica Osorio was shot and killed in the road on Garfield Street, directly in front of her house.
Osorio, who was not involved in a gang, died in a possible gang-related shooting, leaving her family struggling to figure out why.
“I didn’t believe it. I don’t know anyone who would try to hurt her,” Osorio’s 13-year-old sister, Brenda said. “I never pictured something happening to her.”
At 11:43 p.m. Saturday, Rosario Mendoza, a neighbor, heard multiple gunshots while at her computer. She called 911 and ran outside to find Osorio in the street.
Police arrived and found Osorio unresponsive and suffering from a single gunshot wound. She later died at a nearby hospital, according to a police news release.
Nearby, Osorio’s boyfriend, a 17-year-old Hispanic boy, also appeared to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and was transported to an area hospital. He is expected to survive.
Police arrested a teen they believe to be the shooting suspect on Monday night.
On Monday afternoon, family members and friends gathered at Osorio’s house around a framed photo of the quiet, focused teenager, surrounded by flickering prayer candles.
Standing on the porch, her sister, Brenda, quietly talks about how Osorio always encouraged her other four siblings to stay focused on school.
“She’d always help me. She’d cheer me up when I was sad,” Brenda Osorio says as her eyes fill with tears.
The teenager rarely went out and would stay home playing and helping her younger brothers and sisters. She enjoyed both drawing pictures and taking photos. Brenda Osorio said she cherishes the birds that her sister recently started to trace that had their beaks together forming hearts.
“She always went to school. She never missed it. She always listened to my mom and never talked back,” Brenda said about her sister.
On Saturday, Brenda Osorio was in the shower when her sister was shot. She went outside with her family, and was shocked, especially knowing that Angelica Osorio and her friends were never involved in gangs.
“I didn’t want to look, I was so scared,” she said.
At Lodi High School, Osorio was a quiet but a strong student in the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, a study skills class geared toward preparing kids for college.
Her teacher, Catherine Ricketts, said Osorio was determined to go be the first person in her family to go to college, and she enrolled at Delta College. As a freshman, she even received a $2,500 General Mills Challenge U scholarship.
“She was kind of a rock of a girl. She didn’t say too much, she was pretty even-tempered. But if someone needed something or needed her support, she was right there,” Ricketts said.
As her teacher for four years, Ricketts said she always loved all of the little gifts Osorio would bring her for Valentine’s Day and Christmas, even though the student did not have much money. One year it was a little green stuffed creature they named Google. Another year it was some coffee mugs and hot chocolate for her family.
On Sunday, Ricketts spoke with another one of her students who was working and hesitant about going back to school. Osorio had offered to help him, and was going to walk him through the process to get into Delta.
“She was going to college, and she was even helping her friends find out about college and encouraging them to go,” Ricketts said.
In 2010, Osorio and the rest of the AVID class nominated Ricketts for Classroom Teacher of the Year, and she had to write an essay about why she suggested her teacher.
“She wrote nice things about me in that letter, about how I went out of my way to be helpful, when that’s actually the way she was,” Ricketts said.
Near the spot where Angelica Osorio died, there is a memorial of about a dozen prayer candles, a teddy bear and some flowers. As people walk toward the house, they become quiet as they enter.
Mendoza, who made the 911 call, said she is worried about the neighborhood.
This is the second homicide in the past eight months to occur within the same block. In July, 35-year-old Pedro Meza was shot in the head and killed in a drive-by shooting in the parking area of an apartment complex just one block away on East Elm Street.
Mendoza has lived with her mom at the house for 13 years, and she feels like the violence is getting worse. She constantly sees fights and has watched gang members climb over fences after they have been stabbed and are bleeding. The Lodi High junior said she is worried for not only her little brother, but all the neighborhood kids who get together and play in the front lawns.
She has been talking with her mom about moving. After Saturday’s violence, she would like to move even sooner.
“Actually having to call 911 for that type of reason, it really hurts me,” Mendoza said.
Neydi, Gaby, Secilia and Nick, Osorio’s cousins who asked that their last names not be included, were all gathered on her front porch Monday. They described her as a role model, whether through helping the younger kids with homework or encouraging her 15-year-old brother to go to school.
They all agree that the violence has recently increased, and said it took a while for it to sink in that Osorio was a victim of it.
“Even after I went home, I thought, ‘Why her?’ God always takes the good people away,” Gaby said.