DENVER – A vape pen sale gone wrong led to a teen's shooting death in Denver's Montbello neighborhood earlier this month, an arrest affidavit unsealed Monday by Denver police says.
Sixteen-year-old Aaliyah Cortez was shot Jan. 11 in the area of Atchison Way near the intersection of Maxwell Place after she and her older sister arranged to meet with someone over Snapchat who wanted to buy some cannabis vaporizers, known colloquially as "cake bars," her sister told police following the shooting.
In an interview with police, she told investigators the suspect had sent them an approximate location of where to meet and both agreed to do so, but got lost as she didn’t know the area very well.
The girl was driving slowly near Falcon Park when she saw two people approaching from the park, according to the arrest affidavit. That’s when the suspect approached the driver’s side window and pointed a gun at her head, she said, describing the suspect as pushing the weapon at her head.
The girl told police shew then threw the THC cartridges out of the car and began to drive away, losing traction on the ice.
“As she lost traction, the suspect grabbed onto the frame of her door and was reaching into the car through the window, while still pointing the gun at her,” before Cortez reached over and began hitting the suspect to get him to let go, “which is when she heard a gunshot and the suspect let go,” the affidavit states.
The girl told police Cortez was shot and couldn’t breathe. The girl then drove to the area of 4670 N. Peoria Street looking for a hospital, but Cortez passed out, so she pulled over to render aid and called 911, arresting documents show.
About 12 hours later, Cortez was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the shooting, police said.
Serving a search warrant in cooperation with Snapchat, investigators were able to determine the suspect – identified as 17-year-old Brandon Luis Sandoval – was in Falcon Park at the time of the shooting.
The victim’s older sister would later help detectives identify the suspect as Sandoval, who was charged Monday as an adult by the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
He is facing one count of first-degree murder – after deliberation, one count of felony menacing, and one count of possession of a handgun as a juvenile.