DENVER — A year after two men were killed in a drive-by shooting at an RTD bus stop in Denver, family members of De’Angelo Tafoya gathered Saturday for a vigil and balloon release to mourn and call for justice.
Tafoya and David Lara were both killed in the shooting on April 1, 2021. Elias Chavez and Tialoc Chavez, both 22 years old at the time, were arrested within minutes in connection to the shooting. They both remain in custody, facing charges of first-degree murder. Their trial is set to begin in July.
“We just want justice,” mother Angie Tafoya said. “And it will be served. I believe in the Lord. And I have my faith. So, it will definitely be so.”
De’Angelo Tafoya left behind an infant daughter when he was killed, who is now in his mother’s care. His mother, daughter, siblings, and extended family lit candles and released balloons with handwritten messages during Saturday’s vigil. The family said they did so not only for De’Angelo, but also for David Lara and his family.
“Two innocent people, that just got shot and should be here right now,” Angie Tafoya remarked. “You know, my granddaughter should be enjoying her dad. And my son should be enjoying his daughter.”
Angie Tafoya said she plans to return to the bus stop every year to remember her son’s passing, and to continue calling for justice and change. She said she plans to attend the trial of her son’s accused killers this summer, despite the emotional toll it will take on her.
Ninety-six people were killed in homicides in Denver in 2021, according to data analyzed by The Denver Post. That is the highest number recorded since 1981.