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How Many More Must Die? : Girl, 13, becomes mistaken victim in continuing wave of drug-related killings

September 29, 1991

Thirteen-year-old Diane Rosalez was just talking on the telephone--a way of life for most teen-agers--when she was gunned down in her apartment by a man apparently retaliating for a soured drug buy of less than $50, police say.

Diane, a popular eighth-grader at Granger Junior High School known for her singing talent, was an innocent victim.

The 9-millimeter bullet that killed Diane was not meant for her. The semiautomatic gunfire that sprayed her Paradise Hills apartment building on Sept. 19 was apparently meant for another resident of the building.

The death of Diane Rosalez is an example of San Diego's rising toll of narcotics-related violence. As of Aug. 31, there had been 14 drug-related homicides in the city, a 17% increase over the same period last year. It's also a vivid reminder that 1991 will most likely be a record year for homicides in the city.

As of Sept. 25, there had been 135 criminal homicides in the city, just nine shy of the 1988 record.

And for Granger Principal Michael Johnson, it's the second student to be killed in two years.

Children will continue to die--whether as bystanders or as participants--as long as drugs and gangs remain out of control.

How many more Diane Rosalezes will have to die before a way is found to stop the violence?

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