The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends
Crime & Justice

Hundreds attend memorial for Ashley Ann Caldera, shot dead on her 16th birthday in Fontana park

Ashley Caldera
Ashley Caldera

A huge number of locals came to Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino yesterday to bid a final farewell to Ashley Ann Caldera, a Fontana girl shot dead last month while out celebrating her 16th birthday.

According to the San Bernardino Sun, people came by the hundreds on Tuesday, with cars filing in and out of the cemetery all day long and mourners waiting outside the chapel for their turn because it was too full.

Caldera was out with friends celebrating her 16th birthday on the night of May 26. According to police and family members, at about 11 p.m. she was at Northgate Park in Fontana, waiting for another friend to arrive, when someone fired on the group, striking Caldera. The county coroner says she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The girl was just finishing up her sophomore year at Fontana A.B. Miller High School.

Last weekend police arrested a suspect in the murder: Hector Ronces, a 19-year-old Fontana resident, was apprehended Saturday at his home on the 8300 block of Mulberry Avenue, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. He is currently being held on $2 million bail.

The Fontana Herald News reports that a motive is still not known for the killing.

Yesterday’s memorial was described by the Herald News as a viewing. Caldera was scheduled to be buried today at 11 a.m. with a reception afterward, the paper said.

The murder of an innocent 16-year-old girl -- an only child in the Caldera family -- has struck a chord in this High Desert region reeling from a rash of violence lately. A Facebook page called “R.I.P. Ashley Ann Caldera” now has more than 1,500 followers, with new updates -- outpourings of grief from friends and strangers alike -- appearing daily.

“I never got the chance or the opportunity to meet you, but it seems to me that you were all that and more,” one person wrote. “Your mom talked about you all the time -- she would have done just about anything for you.”

The tragedy has also inspired several YouTube tributes for Caldera. Here is an example of one of them: