March 31, 1995
Corpus Christi, Texas
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez is fatally shot by her fan club’s president
Selena began her musical career at the age of 9, rising to become a Grammy winning artist and being called the “Queen of Tejano.”
In 1995, Selena’s father discovered her fan club president and manager of her San Antonio boutique, Yolanda Saldívar, had embezzled $30,000 from the fan club and boutique. Selena called Saldívar on March 9 and fired her. Saldívar later contacted Selena and stated she had missing financial documents to give her. The women then met at the Days Inn where Selena was staying on March 31. According to Saldívar, she brought a gun with her with the intent to kill herself in front of Selena, but accidentally shot the singer instead.
Selena was able to make her way, bleeding, to the hotel office. An employee asked if she knew who had shot her, to which she replied, “Yolanda. 158” before she lost consciousness (158 referred to her hotel room number). Police were notified and Saldívar was found still on the premises inside her truck, and a nearly 10-hour standoff ensued. Meanwhile, Selena was taken to the hospital where she died at the age of 23. After repeated threats to kill herself, Saldívar was arrested without further injury or death.
While Saldívar claimed to have killed Selena accidentally, the prosecution expressed a different belief. As Nueces County District Attorney Carlos Valdez stated, “When Selena decided to sever their business relationship and fire Yolanda, it was over. Yolanda had to kill her in order to maintain control.” Saldívar was convicted of Selena’s murder in October 1995 and sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 2025.
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