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Vigil held to honor Casa Grande teen killed by stray bullet

Police say seven teenagers have been arrested in the case
Posted at 10:30 PM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-02 08:17:08-05

CASA GRANDE, AZ — The Casa Grande community gathered Friday to remember 17-year-old Hailey Stephens. The high school cheerleader was killed by stray gunfire at a house party early Sunday. So far, police say seven teenagers have been arrested in the case.

The glow from the candlelight illuminated the stands at Casa Grande Union High School on Friday night, where Stephens went to school.

"I could describe her as a sunbeam, and the world will certainly be darker without her here," said Principal Chris Lineberry.

Stephens' friends and cheer squad teammates showed their support by planning the vigil for the family. They had a pastor read what they loved about her character.

"She made an impact on everyone and was full of life with a heart of gold," said her cheer squad.

Casa Grande police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Stephens' death.

She was shot early Sunday morning, near SR 387 and Kortsen Road, at what appeared to be a house party at a vacant home. Police believe a fight broke out, with Stephens getting shot in the head by a stray bullet. Another teen girl was also shot but survived.

Witnesses told detectives two of the guns seen had green lasers on them. ABC15 was told video and photos posted on social media helped identify the suspects. So far, three teens have been arrested on murder charges and another four teens face criminal trespassing charges. Hailey's cheer coach said this tragedy has been hard to process.

"Immediately the team came together and met together at the hospital and since, we have met every day. At least an hour or so. Being together has definitely helped, not only myself but each other," said Katie Kramer, the team's head coach.

Casa Grande Union High School and Vista Grande High School were both at Friday's vigil uniting as one. Hailey's parents and brother were down on the field, in the front row, surrounded by hundreds.

"Once again the community has shown that we are our strongest when we come together," said a pastor at Friday's vigil.