When Michael Franco, 27, opened fire on his ex-girlfriend’s family in their Nevada home, 15-year-old Arias Franco had a chance to escape, reported The Las Vegas Sun.
Arias and his 17-year-old sister fled the house as the 7:30 p.m. Thursday onslaught began, police told KVVU. Then Arias realized his younger brother Avi, 5, was still inside.
He “chose to run back into the home, because he didn’t want to leave his youngest brother there,” his uncle, Jonathan Maturell, told mourners at a memorial Saturday, according to the Sun.
“That was the epitome of who Arias was,” Maturell said, according to the Sun. “He was all about his family at such a young age and to see someone who understood the concept of family in its purest form. ...I felt like that was the one thing that I will always, always remember from Arias.”
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Michael Franco killed Selina Rowsell, 35, Arias, and Avi before setting fire to the home and killing himself, Las Vegas police told KSNV. Rowsell’s 17-year-old daughter survived.
Michael Franco had gone to the home in Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas, for a visit, police told KSNV. Police described him as Rowsell’s ex-boyfriend and Avi’s father. Neighbors told the station the couple had separated about three months earlier.
“It’s terrible,” said neighbor Valerie Garza, reported KTNV. “My grandson plays with that little boy, I’ve been up all night.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe drive to help cover expenses. The campaign had raised nearly $14,000 of its $20,000 goal by Sunday morning.
“We will miss them dearly and will cherish the memories that we have with them always,” reads a statement on the GoFundMe page.