FAMILY says a 16-year-old was shot 22 times while walking her dog with cops now hunting for her "coward" killer.
The teen's mom heard the gunfire on Tuesday and desperately tried to reach her daughter by phone, knowing she was walking their family dog Peanut in the area.
The family knew something was wrong when they heard scratching at their door around 9.30pm and found Peanut without the 16-year-old, local Fox affiliate KRIV reported.
They searched their southwest Houston, Texas neighborhood for Diamond Alvarez and found her riddled with bullets a few blocks away.
"My son found her. I tried CPR, and I couldn’t bring her back. I tried so hard to keep her alive. I couldn’t," the victim's mother Anna Machado told KRIV while identifying Diamond as the victim.
Family said Diamond died at the scene, at an open greenspace in their neighborhood where a makeshift memorial is growing.
“Whoever shot this girl 22 times in the back, they are cowards,” Tito Moczygemba, Diamond’s stepfather, said.
'VERY FUN, OUTGOING'
Machado told local news outlet KPRC that her daughter was a sophomore honor student who enjoyed volleyball and basketball while attending Madison High School.
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She loved the color purple and was described as a fun and outgoing, down-to-earth girl who wasn't afraid to speak up, a GoFundMe for funeral expenses said.
"The person that did that to her was very cold hearted," family friend and neighbor Jovanna Martinez told ABC affiliate KTRK.
"It's not right. She was a happy person, joyful. Her family loved her a lot. She had a lot of people that loved her, she still will too. She will forever live in everybody's heart. I don't think it's something people will get over really easy."
Diamond loved makeup and planned on going to cosmetology school before her life was cut short.
"She loved spending time with her family and always managed to live life to the fullest," the GoFundMe said.
SEARCH FOR 'COWARD' SHOOTER
Witnesses told police they heard multiple gunshots in the area, then the sound of tires squealing as a dark-colored vehicle sped off.
The Houston Police Department was working to find surveillance video that could help identify the car involved but hadn't announced a suspect in the case as of Wednesday night.
Community members shared their shock over Diamond's death online, with one person calling it "just sickening."
"I'm so heartbroken for her parents," the commenter wrote.
They shared hope that someone would come forward with information that could lead to her killer, writing "Rip young lady… surely someone saw something!"
Anyone with information was urged to contact the Houston Police Department's Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
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