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Family of slain woman reaches out with message of hope for others who are 'lost'

Published: Sunday, Feb. 17 2013 9:22 p.m. MST

MIDVALE — Family and friends on Sunday gathered around an alleged drug house where Danielle Lucero was shot and killed last week, making a claim for a world free of drugs.

"People can get out of this situation. They just need to ask for help, find the people who love them and be by their family's side," said Andrew Lucero. "Everybody has someone that loves them and cares for them and these guys, they just need help knowing."

Lucero, 26, was believed to have only been spending the night at the home at 8286 S. Adams Street, although family members hadn't seen or heard from her in days and she had been "lost for quite a while," her brother said.

In addition to Lucero, 35-year-old Omar Jarman and Shontay Young, 34, were also shot and killed at the home Tuesday morning. Another woman was also shot and hospitalized but has since been released. Four others were in the home at the time, in addition to the gunman and another man, who were not injured.

Two days after the shootings, police arrested known gang member David Fresques, 25. He is suspected in the killings but no official charges have been filed against him. Officers continue a search for another man believed to have been present at the time of the shooting.

"This violence and drugs, it's killing us. It's killing us," said Inez Lucero. She flew to Salt Lake City from New Mexico not only for her niece's funeral this week, but to appear at a court hearing for the man charged with murdering her nephew, Tony Vasquez — Danielle Lucero's brother. Vasquez was shot and killed in a Salt Lake home last summer.

"Drugs are trouble," she said. "The victims, my niece, didn't deserve to die this way. They didn't."

Family members wore red sweatshirts with Danielle Lucero's photo emblazoned on the back, and held candles ensconced in red cups. The red, a national symbol for "drug-free," was chosen intentionally to remind others of the cause that is now binding the Lucero family together.

"When you're lost in life you sometimes hate the advice that aunts and uncles and other family have to give, but they do it because they love you," Inez Lucero said, adding that she would give anything to bring Danielle back and "take her away from all this — wherever she wanted and needed to be."

Andrew Lucero visited the home shortly after his sister's death, to "see where she was at the time she took her last breath."

"I know she didn't belong here," he said, adding that the place gives him "shivers." "She was scared of this stuff."

The driveway of the home was lined with candles and the front step was adorned with flowers, cards, balloons and other memorabilia. Those gathered there shared memories of their loved one, repeatedly saying Danielle had a beautiful smile that "won't be forgotten."

Adding to their heartache were many unanswered questions, including why the home wasn't boarded up or shut down following the incident, as it had been part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.

"I hope God takes care of her and the other victims and that we get justice for them," Inez Lucero said. "I'll die fighting for justice for my niece."

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

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