QUESTA, N.M. (KRQE) – A small New Mexico community still in shock, grieving the loss of a 13-year-old girl who police said was shot and killed by her 14-year-old friend.

Amber Archuleta’s family said she was a free-spirit who loved to play music. They said just two weeks after her death, the pain is still raw. “She was outgoing, she had no fear. If there was a hill she’d climb it,” said Amber Archuleta’s father, Joshua Archuleta. 

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Joshua Archuleta said his daughter Amber was energetic and full of life. The single father said the 13-year-old loved creating artwork, exploring the outdoors, and playing mariachi music. “You know her and her brother, you know riding their bikes, she was the one popping the wheelies and ramping and stuff like that,” said Joshua Archuleta.

On July 28, Amber and her brother were hanging out at a friend’s home in Questa. That’s when police say 14-year-old Porfirio Brown pulled out his father’s gun and shot Amber, killing her. Joshua Archuleta said he was at work when he received a call from 14-year-old son who was in a panic. “And he was like ‘dad, just get down here, Amber’s been shot,’ but I heard it in his voice, so I just threw everything down and came into Questa,” Joshua Archuleta said.

Joshua Archuleta said he arrived to find his daughter shot to death. “It was just awful, it was just completely horrible.” 

Police said the motive for the shooting isn’t clear and the suspect police have in custody, leaves Joshua Archuleta even more bewildered. “He was actually close friends with my son, and I never expected this to come out. I mean he spent holidays with us, and stuff and he seemed like a nice kid, but it’s turning out that he did have some really major issues,” says Archuleta. 

The Archuletas’ attorney said those issues raise big questions about whether he should have had access to guns. In the wake of this tragedy, the Questa community held a march in July urging gun owners to lock up their firearms. Amber’s father said the community’s support during this time has made a huge difference. 

“I just want them to remember her for the sweet little thing that she was. You know she, like I said she touched a lot of people and I just want them to have those good memories of her,” said Joshua Archuleta.

The family hosted a public memorial Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Questa High School Gymnasium. They encouraged anyone who wanted to be there to attend.  

The teen suspect, Porfirio Brown, remains behind bars. His father, William Brown, is the first person charged under a new state law, requiring adults to keep their guns out of the hands of minors. 

Joshua Archuleta has also released a statement in regard to the memorial.