Three LDS Teens Die in El Salvador Shooting

  From the Church News

  • 11 June 2013

Article Highlights

  • The names of the young men are Rafael Alberto Chinchilla Chachagua, 18; his brother, Juan Antonio Garcia Chachagua, 16; Nelson Leonel Hernandez, 18; and his brother, Alejandro Antonio Juarez Hernandez, 16.
  • Nelson had recently received a mission call to Brazil, while Rafael was reportedly in the process of preparing his missionary application.
  • The young men were walking through an area reported to be disputed by two gangs when they were shot.

“They were great young men from good families. … They were active in our congregation. … We are heartbroken by this tragic loss and will miss the presence of these boys in our congregation.” —Nestor Henry Zamora Diaz, president of the Ahuachapan El Salvador Stake

AHUACHAPAN, EL SALVADOR

Three LDS teenage young men and the younger brother of one of the members were shot and killed June 1 while walking home from a family activity.

The Deseret News identified the young men as Rafael Alberto Chinchilla Chachagua, 18; his brother, Juan Antonio Garcia Chachagua, 16; Nelson Leonel Hernandez, 18; and his brother, Alejandro Antonio Juarez Hernandez, 16. Nelson had recently received a mission call to Brazil, while Rafael was reportedly in the process of preparing his missionary application.

Police said the young men had attended a midnight mass held in behalf of a late family member. Because all of the family cars were crowded, the boys decided to walk home from the mass. They were walking through an area reported to be disputed by two gangs when they were shot.

There is no evidence to suggest the young men were affiliated with gangs.

“They were great young men from good families,” said Nestor Henry Zamora Diaz, president of the Ahuachapan El Salvador Stake, in a Deseret News article. “They were active in our congregation. ... We are heartbroken by this tragic loss and will miss the presence of these boys in our congregation.”

The Church is saddened by the deaths of the four young men, said spokeswoman Ruth Todd. 

“We pray that the Spirit will provide comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones and trust that their faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel will give them peace in these moments of sadness.”