FATAL SHOOTING: Suspect says he was drunk
Police say 21-year-old admitted firing gun, killing mother of two
By SCOTT SPJUT
Cristian Basurto, 15, speaks Tuesday outside Las Vegas City Hall about the death of his mother, Blanca Gonzalez, who was shot Friday while stopped at a red light. Cristian and his sister, Jasmin, were in the car at the time of the shooting at the intersection of Nellis and Charleston boulevards. Police arrested a suspect in the shooting on Monday.
Calvin Lee Kirklin, 21, was arrested Monday morning
A man arrested Monday morning told police he was drunk when the gun he was handling accidentally discharged, killing a mother of two stopped at a red light.
Calvin Lee Kirklin, 21, was driving Friday evening with three adult passengers and his infant son when he fired through the front passenger window, striking in the head 39-year-old Blanca Gonzalez, whose own two children were in the car with her.
Jabriel Fernandez, who was in the car with Kirklin, told police that "Kirklin held the gun in his right hand, fully extending his arm, as if aiming the pistol at Gonzalez's vehicle,"
according to an arrest report by Las Vegas police.
Cristian Basurto, Gonzalez's 15-year-old son, called 911 after his mother fell into his arms, unconscious and bleeding. Gonzalez's car moved into the intersection and hit a pickup making a turn onto eastbound Charleston.
Gonzalez was taken to University Medical Center, where she died at 6:03 p.m. Sunday
"It's been really hard for us," Cristian said, with his mother's brother, Juan Lopez, at his side. "One day she's right there, smiling with you. And the next day she's in a bag."
Cristian spoke briefly after a news conference Tuesday morning, trying his best to stay composed. "I don't want her to look down on me and look at me suffer. I have to be strong and work hard for my family. I need to work to make my mom proud."
Cristian hopes to become a professional soccer player. The family was planning on moving to Mexico within the next year to pursue that goal.
"My mom's dream was to make my dream possible. All she wanted was to fight for me and my little sister."
He said his father was crushed, and has been leaving the house in the middle of the night to go for walks. He also said his sister, 11-year-old Jazmin Basurto who was also in the car, wasn't fully aware of what was going on.
Cristian did not have much to say about Kirklin's arrest. "Anything they do or say isn't going to bring back my mom."
Las Vegas police Capt. Randy Montandon said police do not know the suspect's motive and described the events as a "senseless crime of violence."
Montandon said Kirklin is not in a gang and police were "very confident he did not know the victim."
According to police, Gonzalez was waiting about 8:20 p.m. Friday to make a left turn onto Charleston Boulevard from Nellis Boulevard when Kirklin pulled up in a gold Buick Regal on the left side of her white Suzuki Grand Vitara, a small SUV.
After the single shot was fired, Cristian heard a woman's voice from the Buick say, "You shot her! Run! Go! Go!"
The Buick made a U-turn and drove away, southbound on Nellis Boulevard.
On Monday morning, Kirklin was found after someone phoned police after recognizing the vehicle description from media reports. Police pulled the vehicle over on Pecos Road, south of Tropicana Avenue.
In the car was Kirklin, Kirklin's baby, Kirklin's toddler brother and Brittni Clipper, the mother of Kirklin's son and registered owner of the vehicle.
Kirklin initially said his car was the one that was shot at, which was the reason the front passenger window of the vehicle was damaged, but he later admitted firing the gun, citing his intoxication.
Police said Kirklin might not have known he killed someone but must have known that he had shot at someone.
"He wasn't surprised when he was pulled over; I can tell you that," Montandon said.
A search warrant was obtained for Kirklin's residence, near Tropicana Avenue and Sandhill Road. After searching the home, Kirklin ultimately told police he had hidden the weapon -- a .380 caliber semi-automatic -- behind a shed in the rear of the yard.
Police interviewed Clipper, as well as Fernandez and Rafael Creamer, who were in the car when the shooting happened. Clipper, Fernandez and Creamer all said Kirklin fired the weapon.
None of them has been charged with any crimes. Police say there has been nothing to prove their involvement or that they knew what was going on.
Kirklin is scheduled to appear in court this morning. It won't be the first time. In 2005, Kirklin pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and altering a serial number of a firearm.
According to the Clark County School District, Kirklin was enrolled in the ninth grade at Valley High School for the 2003-2004 academic year. It has no record of enrollment after that.
A woman at the house where Kirklin was living said Tuesday she and the other occupants had no comment.
Contact reporter Scott Spjut at email@example.com
or (702) 383-0279.