Mother wants answers after son was killed while in a car with friends

Izaiah Riojas had plans of expanding his basketball career before a single bullet took his life

Mother searches for answers in son's fatal shooting on West Side

San Antonio – A West Side mother wants answers after her son was shot and killed while in a car with his friends on Aug. 15.

San Antonio police said Izaiah Riojas, 20, was hit with a bullet after a group was playing with a gun and it went off. Guadalupe Castro, his mother, said she has been devastated ever since.

“I get a call at midnight that my son was shot and I was like what son because I have three boys,” Castro said. “And they just hung up on me.”

Jaime Riojas, 19, was arrested and charged with manslaughter because of the incident. He was Izaiah Riojas’s friend.

“I want to ask him, ‘Why?’ I forgive him,” Castro said. “I forgive him, but I want to ask him why. Why did you do that to my son? Why not get help? Why not drive him to the hospital? Why did everyone run?”

Sadly, Izaiah Riojas died at the scene and police said some suspects ran off, while some stayed for questioning.

“I can’t sleep at night,” Castro said. “We cremated him this Sunday. I already talked to him and I told him, ‘I am going to let you rest baby, but mommy’s angry.’ I am angry.”

Izaiah Riojas was known as EZ and an amazing basketball player who played with his brother Brandyn.

“He was always practicing,” Castro said. “Alway balling. He would play with some kids. These kids would be six foot four or six foot five. My babies were five foot six and five foot seven, so tiny kids,” she laughed. “So it was awesome to see him fly. I would get compliments at the game and because he was good in school too. He played all over the United States. Traveled with a lot teams he played with.”

She said he even would teach kids how to play.

“There are kids that look up to him in basketball and they are taking it hard,” Castro said. “Real hard.”

Castro said out of all of her boys, Izaiah Riojas was the goofy one.

“He was always dancing, laughing, joking, and just making jokes out of everything,” she laughed. “Even though he would get on my nerves sometimes but he was always laughing and making everybody laugh. Yeah, that was my baby.”

Though Jaime Riojas was arrested, Castro said she will not rest until everyone in the car that dark night face justice as well.

“I want answers,” Castro said. “I still have so many questions. It is all this, ‘He said she said’ stuff but I want the true story. There is only one story to his death and that is the story I want.”

Castro and a group of family, friends, and loved ones are hosting a basketball tournament in honor of Izaiah Riojas. The event will take place Saturday at noon. It will take place at 135 Topeka Street.

She said the funds raised that day will go to other basketball teams in need and hopefully she can one day start a basketball team of her own after her son.

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.