Glenwood Springs shooting victim: ‘Now, it’s all for the future’
CARBONDALE — It’s about 40 degrees, and Leydy Trejo walks around in the shop with a slight limp. Not caring about the pain, she approaches to speak cordially to some clients who sit while waiting to be seen.
“It hurts when it’s cold,” said Trejo, 18, who is recovering from a bullet wound in her leg she suffered on July 31 during a shooting near Glenwood Springs that resulted in the death of her boyfriend.
Trejo, like many teenagers, faces many choices every day. When talking to her, it’s clear that the young woman, who is a high school senior, has chosen one of toughest: to be strong. And this is particularly difficult after what she endured on the night of July 31 when she and her boyfriend, Douglas Menjivar, 21, were ambushed while returning to their home.
Douglas died after being shot several times.
Fredy Cabrera, Trejo’s stepfather, has been charged with first degree murder and assault in the death of Menjivar and her shooting.
Being strong for Trejo means studying hard to be able to attend college next year. She wants to be a nurse. Now, in the afternoons, she works in one of the family businesses in Carbondale and helps her mom, Vilma, with her three little children.
“What happened gave me more strength to go on for my family and my little brothers,” said Trejo. “We both help each other,” she adds, referring to her mother who takes care of both family restaurants, the El Horizonte in Carbondale and the one in Glenwood Springs. She helps in the family office supply business as well.
“At school they have treated me very well, they haven’t asked questions, I don’t want to talk about what happened,” she said.
Now she’s busy saving up for the future and said that she still calls Cabrera “dad,” although she does not want to speak of him.
“I am no one to judge,” is all she said of the matter.
“I try to think positively, and I thank my mom who is a fighter and a hard worker, and I admire her very much.”
After what happened, Trejo said she has learned that everything can end suddenly.
“I value life and thank God that I am well, that nothing serious has happened to me,” Trejo said.
The doctors have told her that her leg will recover in a year. In the meantime, she cannot play soccer like before.
Trejo said she is disappointed by the criticism and comments of the people about her guilt in the assault. She also denies a relationship between herself and Cabrera.
“They say it was my fault. People know nothing. I don’t like people talking about me,” Trejo said. “Because if they know nothing, they should say nothing.”
When talk turns to Douglas, her big brown eyes fill up with tears.
“I remember Douglas as someone very special in my life,” she said. “He will never leave my mind or my heart. He defended me.”
Trejo said she feels grateful towards Douglas, since she believes he saved her life.
“He’s not here anymore and that’s very sad,” she adds. “But I live for him. I want to show him and myself that I can be strong.”
In order to overcome trauma, Trejo sees a psychologist every week.
“She helps me a lot. She understands me,” she said.
Despite being in her last year of high school, Trejo doesn’t go out as much with her friends like before.
“I dedicate myself more to work,” she said. “I have limited myself because I feel responsible for my brothers and I must help my mom.”
Sometimes Trejo surprises herself with her own strength.
“If God has given me an opportunity, it’s for a reason,” she said.
Trejo insists that she does not want to speak about Cabrera, but said he was a positive force in her life up to that night in July.
“This is my worst tragedy. Sometimes I get out of the car in the evening and I am frightened because I recall what happened that night,” she said.
Now, there is only one path for Trejo:
“Now, it’s all for the future.”
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The Glenwood Springs City Council will begin piecing together the vision for South Canyon during Thursday night’s city council meeting.