Whittier, CA - August 24, 2023
Disturbing new revelations have sent shockwaves through the city of Whittier, as further details have emerged in the tragic case of 19-year-old Andrea Vazquez. Gabriel Sean Esparza, initially charged with kidnapping, attempted rape, and murder, is now facing additional charges related to the attempted murder of Vazquez's boyfriend. The community's sorrow and resilience are palpable as they come to terms with these unsettling developments.
Mayor Joe Vinatieri addressed the community in a statement that resonated with shared grief and determination. "Many of you have heard about the murder and incident at Penn Park early Sunday morning. It has shaken me and our community," Mayor Vinatieri began, acknowledging the collective impact of the tragedy.
He recounted the poignant moment of silence held during a City Council meeting, a poignant gesture that exemplified the community's unity. "Last night we opened our City Council meeting with the following moment of silence..." Mayor Vinatieri said, leading into a heartrending recitation of the message shared with the community:
"I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic incident which occurred in Whittier this weekend and resulted in the senseless loss of a young girl’s life. Our thoughts and condolences are with the victim's family and friends during this incredibly difficult time."
Mayor Vinatieri's words echoed the sentiment of a city in mourning, grappling with the profound tragedy that unfolded on August 20. He sought to reassure the community, noting that the violence was reported as a random and isolated incident. The Mayor emphasized the rapid response of the Whittier Police Department, highlighting their unwavering dedication to safeguarding the community.
"I want to commend our detectives, as well as the law enforcement partners involved, for their thorough and diligent investigation which has led to the arrest of the suspect who is now in custody," Mayor Vinatieri stated, underscoring the collaborative efforts that have driven the investigation forward.
Amidst the sorrow, Mayor Vinatieri called for a moment of silence to honor Andrea Vazquez's memory. "Let us take a moment of silence to remember the victim, 19-year-old Andrea Vazquez, who was taken from her loved ones far too soon."
In closing, the Mayor's sentiments extended to Andrea's family, friends, and all those affected by the tragedy. "Our prayers and condolences are with her family, her friends, and all those who knew and loved her. Let there be peace over our community, over our families and over the Vazquez family."
As the legal proceedings continue and the community navigates these devastating developments, Mayor Joe Vinatieri's words serve as a reminder of the unity and strength that define Whittier in the face of adversity.