Upon first glance, a fundraiser in the northeast valley on Sunday resembled a gleeful occasion.
There were colorful posters, cars coated in soapy foam and a trio of peppy, young children helping dry the vehicles.
But the car wash outside an audio equipment business on East Lake Mead Boulevard aimed to help raise money for funeral services of a Las Vegas couple slain a week prior when the man killed his wife before he was fatally shot by a Metropolitan Police Department officer.
The deaths of Delia Luna-Rojo and Miguel Gallarzo, both 46, have left their five children reeling.
Attempting to maintain composure as the new head of their family, older sister Karla Gallarzo Rojo said that she rather not think about how her life was tragically altered July 3.
At least not now.
“You just have to kind of put all your feelings in a little box, and you can’t let them out, you know?” the 30-year-old told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, stifling tears. “Because you have to stay strong, and they can wait for when you’re ready.”
Metro officers arrived at the couple’s house late that night in the 600 block of North Bruce Street, near Bonanza Road. Four younger children, two of them minors, lived with them.
Teary-eyed, Metro Assistant Sheriff Lazaro Chavez told reporters on Thursday, while broadcasting body-worn camera footage and 911 audio, that Gallarzo had stabbed his wife during a quarrel.
That was the first time Metro had been called to the home, Chavez added, pleading to victims of domestic violence to seek help.
Before officers entered the couple’s bedroom, police were told that the murder suspect was threatening to take his own life, Chavez said.
Officer Tate Nelson, who was standing by the door, shot Gallarzo with a shotgun when the man grabbed a knife and started to make his way to him, disobeying orders to stop, the footage showed.
Luna-Rojo and Gallarzo died at the scene, police said.
“I never thought my parents we’re gonna go, you know leave us, leave me with so much responsibility so early,” Karla Gallarzo Rojo said.
In the aftermath, family and friends have stepped up to help, Gallarzo Rojo said. They have delivered food at the home, and have helped clean. Uncles had traveled to Mexico to pick up their grandparents.
Car wash fundraiser
The car washing equipment was loaned by a friend, and later this week, another friend plans to host a kermes, or a festival-style, food-driven fundraiser typical at churches in Latino communities.
Gallarzo Rojo said she does not know what is next for the family. Her siblings no longer feel comfortable at the house, which might lead to its sale, she said.
Their mother, “the rock” of the family, worked at a grocery store butcher shop.
“She always had our back, always,” the grieving daughter said.
Their father was a longtime construction worker, who was handy and “would fix anything for us,” she added.
As of Sunday afternoon, the couple’s children had raised nearly $6,000 on a GoFundMe campaign, and they were counting on the community to reach a $20,000 goal.
“It’s extremely important,” she said of the donations. “I would say the most important, because without them we can’t really do anything.”
For now, there is “a lot of pain to process,” she said about her siblings and herself.
“It’s hard,” she said. “One day at a time.”
The Southern Nevada Family Justice Center, a hub that offers resources for victims of domestic violence, can be reached at 702-828-7714 or [email protected] The Shade Tree, which offers shelter for women, children and pets, operates a crisis hotline operated 24/7 at 855-385-0072.