The parents of two young people slain at a party south of Fresno in January pleaded Friday for anyone with information about the killings to come forward.
Family members joined Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims at a news conference to talk about the case. Also Friday,a reward for information leading to arrests was increased to $3,500.
Sheriff’s detectives believe that Kayla DeBorde, 19, and William Harris, 17, were hit by stray gunfire during a party attended by as many as 300 people at a home on Orange Avenue just south of Adams Avenue, near Easton.
Mims said their lives were taken as a result of a deadly combination of alcohol, firearms and a party widely broadcast on social media. Mims called the Jan. 29 deaths a “senseless shooting” of two young people with no gang ties and urged the public “to bring justice for two teens and their families.”
Please come forward. This is all I have left of her.
Brandi Collins, while holding the ashes of her slain daughter, 19-year-old Kayla DeBorde
With graduation parties for Valley teens around the corner, the sheriff warned of the dangers of advertising such gatherings to a “wide, unknown audience.” Mims also said investigators may file charges against the organizers of the party, who illegally sold alcohol at the event.
Kevin Harris, the father of William Harris and a former teacher of DeBorde, said his son was an “outstanding young man” who was active in his church. He would have graduated from high school on June 2.
“He was trying to do the best he could to carve out his piece of the pie,” Kevin Harris said.
Brandi Collins held the ashes of her daughter as she asked for help to solve the case: “Please come forward. This is all I have left of her.”
Said Lori Ray, the mother of William Harris: “Not a day goes by that I don’t miss William. He was not a gang member. We don’t know why he was taken. If you know anything, please make that phone call.”
Dale Mendoza of Valley Crime Stoppers appeared at the news conference to offer a $2,500 reward for information leading to arrests. A private donor later added $1,000 to the pool, bringing the total reward to $3,500.
Anyone with information is asked to call 559-498-STOP, where the caller’s name will remain anonymous. Detective Jose Diaz would also like to view any photos or video taken at the event. He can be contacted at 559-600-8206.