Family mourning loss of girl, 16, accidentally shot in Tempe

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 10:56:41-04

The family of 16-year-old Marlen Hernandez is in mourning after the teen was accidentally shot and killed in Tempe on Monday night.

The girl’s brother-in-law, 23-year-old Emmanuel Hilario, is now facing manslaughter charges after police said he was posing for pictures with the weapon and Marlen when the gun went off, firing a bullet into her head.

Her devastated parents aren't even living in the country right now. 

“My parents are in Mexico and they can’t cross, and we’re just trying to get them over here so they can see her," said Marbella Hernandez, the victim's fraternal twin.

Marlen was living with her twin sister, older sister, and brother-in-law at an apartment near Rural Road and University Drive. 

“We don’t even know how this all happened. It happened in a flash. We just got called up, and we couldn’t believe it," said Dulce Meneses, the victim's cousin. 

Marlen’s twin was in another room when her sister was accidentally shot.

“It was an accident. I was about to take a shower. I don’t even remember the last thing she said to me," Marbella said.

“If you have a sister, be with her all the time. Don’t let her go. Take care of her. Love her," Marbella said. 

The family spent the morning putting together donation boxes to raise money to try to relieve the financial burden. 

“When one experiences things like this, one doesn't know what to do, and we’re all in that same situation. We’re trying to stay strong, but we’re trying to cope with that we lost a loved person,” Meneses said.

The family has set up a donation account and is organizing a car wash to raise funds for Marlen’s parents to travel to Arizona to bury their daughter. Click here to donate.

Marbella said her sister would have started school in a few weeks as a junior at McClintock High School in Tempe.