Selena Quintanilla Perez, Tejano’s very first superstar, was around to become an global pop sensation. Instead, she’s one more victim of total violence in Texas.

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Black Friday

The disastrous news arrived the way tragic news frequently does: by phone. The call came simply after lunch from my girlfriend David Bennett, a reporter at the San Antonio Express-News. “Selena has actually been shot. In body Christi in ~ a job Inn motel. The woman who did that is sitting in a pickup in the parking lot, hold a total to her head.” i waited because that Bennett, a font of sick jokes about current events, to provide the beat line. It was, after ~ all, march 31 — the day before April Fool’s. Yet no punch line came when he called ago a couple of minutes later: “She’s dead. She passed far at 1:05 p.m. At Memorial medical Center.”

I had met her just once, but it was together though someone close come me was suddenly gone. Selena Quintanilla Perez to be a 23-year-old Grammy award-winning singer and the undisputed queen of Tejano music, a Texas specialty that is enjoying extraordinary popularity roughly the country and the world. A year ago, I’d talked through her ~ above a tour bus in Austin for a Texas Monthly story. For most of the interview, she sat alongside her mother, Marcella, who often traveled through her band, Los Dinos, and also her father, Abraham, the band’s manager. At one point, she husband, kris Perez—who was additionally her command guitarist—stopped by come say hello. Around midnight, Selena’s sister, Suzette—her drummer—and her brother, A.B.—her bass player, chief composer, and producer—would sign up with her and also the remainder of the band onstage.

Selena’s household crossed mine mind when I heard around her death. She may have actually dressed provocatively onstage, but after sitting challenge to face with she in the agency of she kin, seeing her without makeup or her sexy costumes, ns pegged her as a good girl—not the type of human who would certainly be associated in a shooting, specifically a shooting entailing a jealous woman in a crime the passion.

That, the course, was what the at an early stage rumors suggested. A radio deejay somewhere wisecracked the the assailant was “Emilio’s wife”—the spouse the Emilio Navaira, the famous Tejano singer that was Selena’s just real crate office competition. That scurrilous suggestion spread out so quick that Navaira’s office and home were besieged with fatality threats. To acquire the truth, ns tuned in two of mountain Antonio’s Spanish-language stations, KXTN-FM (Tejano 107) and KEDA-AM (Radio Jalapeño), and stayed close to the phone. Soon, another friend dubbed to say that Ramiro Burr, the Express-News’syndicated Tejano columnist, had actually heard native Selena’s record company, the the woman in the pickup to be Yolanda Saldivar, a 34-year-old nurse whom anyone knew as Selena’s number one fan.

By 5 that afternoon, san Antonio TV stations—including the affiliates because that the Spanish-language Telemundo and Univision networks—had reporters and also satellite uplinks in ~ the crime scene. Selena y los Dinos songs were everywhere the radio. Grieving callers come radio stations check out poems top top the air. Other Tejano artists, such together Stefani, the All-American Sweetheart, phoned in to share memories. Dances in ~ Tejano venues were dubbed off in cities throughout Texas.

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When ns heard the Tejano 107 would certainly be stop a candlelight vigil in ~ the open-air Sunken Gardens Theatre in mountain Antonio at seven that night, i jumped right into the car. My first stop to be Selena’s boutique and also salon, Selena Etc., on a tiny strip of Broadway by Brackenridge Park. Critical year, Selena had opened this boutique and also one in corpus Christi; music may have actually been her living, however fashion was she life. When I pulled right into the parking lot, four other cars to be there. Two had actually messages painted on your windshields in white shoe polish: One read “Selena lives On,” the other, “Missing you Selena.” A bouquet of flowers had actually been inserted by the door of the boutique, together a photo of a smiling Selena and also several notes. A few adults, four teenage girls, 3 younger boys, and an abuela (“grandmother”) to be milling about, examining the flowers, reading the notes, peering in the boutique’s window at the photos and also posters of Selena that hung among the designer outfits. Their encounters were not animated or emotional however solemn and also blank. They want to see, to touch, to affix somehow.

Across the park, Sunken Gardens to be filling up fast. A little truck, the Tejano 107 mobile studio, to be parked in the middle of the stage. Two life-size cutouts that Selena stop a Coca Cola were put nearby. The event had to be haphazardly organized—when who from the station started handing the end candles, a little stampede damaged out—and at first, it appeared as though it could never come together. Climate disc jockey Jonny Ramírez emerged from the truck to phone call the practically five thousand human being in attendance the they were there because “somebody stupid had actually a gun.” A few people laughed as soon as he recounted first meeting Selena (“I stated to myself, ‘Yes! This lady provides me want to walk home and take a cold shower!’”). Then he claimed what practically everyone else that had ever before known her had said: “She never behaved prefer a superstar.”