Salinas: Everett Alvarez High School cheer coach identified as gunshot victim

SALINAS — A woman found in Salinas unresponsive and suffering from gunshot wounds that ultimately proved fatal inside her vehicle Tuesday morning has been identified as Faith Elizabeth Valenzuela, who coached cheerleading for Everett Alvarez High School. She was 29 years old.

According to the Salinas Police Department, a Marina police unit leaving a local hospital came across a single-vehicle collision in the area of Natividad Road and Lunsford Drive in Salinas around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday. Salinas police officers responded and found Valenzuela inside the vehicle, not conscious or breathing. Officers began CPR.

After checking Valenzuela for additional injuries, officers discovered she had also suffered gunshot wounds. She was transported to Natividad Medical Center but died from her injuries, police said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the investigation was ongoing, with suspects still yet to be identified, according to Salinas police spokesman Miguel Cabrera.

“At this point, suspect information is very sketchy,” he said over the phone Wednesday. “I can almost say there is none. Hopefully, that will change as the detectives sift through any information that can guide us to some leads.”

Salinas Union High School District Superintendent Dan Burns issued a statement Wednesday.

“We were notified that the person found early Tuesday morning on Natividad Road victim of a shooting was identified as the (Everett Alvarez High School) cheer advisor,” the statement read. “School staff called a meeting of the cheer squad (Tuesday) to discuss the tragedy and provide grief support.”

The Everett Alvarez High School cheer team announced their coach’s death over Instagram Tuesday night.

“It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that our very own Coach Faith has passed away this morning,” the cheer team’s social media post read. “Her bright smile and kind heart will be missed dearly. We are shocked and sadden(ed) by her sudden death and will continue to live on in her spirit. This season is for you Faith.”

Police are asking anyone with information regarding this shooting to contact Detective Robert Miller at 831-758-7954 or robertm@ci.salinas.ca.us or the Salinas Police Department at 831-758-7321. Anonymous tips can be made at 831-775-4222.

Contributed by local news sources

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