Shocked family members waited outside as police continued to investigate the scene Wednesday. Catherine Gonzalez was fatally shot in the chest by her 13-year-old cousin during a family gathering at her home at 10 p.m.
"They thought it was a toy gun, so it was an accident," said cousin Jessy Rodriguez.
Police said the boy, who is also from Santa Ana, fled immediately after the shooting. The name of the boy was withheld because he is a juvenile.
"Whether it was accidental or intentional, we don't know that yet because he fled the scene," said Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. Bertagna said police worked with the boy's parents to get him into custody. Police were interviewing the boy Wednesday afternoon.
Several guns were found inside the apartment, and police are trying to determine if the weapon involved in the shooting was left behind.
Gonzalez was a student at Saddleback High School, and her family said she had looked forward to going to college. She would have been the first in her family to graduate from high school.
At Saddleback High, a crisis intervention team provided counseling to students and staff.
"I hope she's better up there, and we miss her," Rodriguez said.