‘She died a hero,’ says brother of teacher shot, killed during domestic incident

Sara Silva had just started working at La Petite Academy as a teacher before she was killed

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio teacher never finished her first week on the job teaching at La Petite Academy after police say she was shot and killed, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend. Now, her family wants her story to raise awareness about the severity of domestic abuse.

They said Sara Silva was a fun woman to be around.

“She was very kind and very loving,” said David Silva, her brother. “She had a big heart. She loved to dance and loved music and she would sing too.”

“She was the only aunt to my two kids,” said Angela Castillo, her sister-in-law. “That is why she loved everything to do with kids.”

Sara Silva worked at daycare facilities for several years but had a dream of becoming an official teacher.

She had only been working at La Petite Academy on Sunset Road for a couple of days before the fatal shooting.

The family said they had no idea any abuse was taking place in her relationship with Evan Aaron Held, her accused killer.

“They had been dating for about a year and when I met him. I didn’t have good vibes,” David Silva said. “But anytime I would come visit, I never heard him yelling at her or anything. I would ask my mom if she heard anything and she said she never heard anything. He would come over and he wasn’t disrespectful or anything like that. She did say he just got out of jail so that only made him just kind of sketchy to me.”

“I just noticed every time I was around her with him, she was a little different,” said Castillo. “She wasn’t as outgoing as she was when she was with him.”

Unfortunately, the day of the fatal shooting, David Silva said his mom did hear him yelling at his sister.

She lived in a little backhouse behind her mother’s home and the family allowed Held to live with her.

“I was at work when they called me,” David Silva said. “I had to work the graveyard shift. They called me and I got down here. My mom said she heard him yelling so she opened the backdoor and said, ‘Evan, I can hear you!’ They had their door opened and I guess that is when he got mad and said, ‘why don’t you go inside with your mom.’”

Sara Silva came inside but the nightmare wasn’t over.

“She went to my mom’s room and they shut the door,” he said. “Later that evening, he came looking for her. He was at the bottom of the steps yelling for her to come out. My mom said that she said she had an ugly feeling and didn’t want to come out and my mom told her she didn’t have to. I guess they didn’t think anything bad was going to happen.”

David Silva said when she opened the door to peep out, she saw he had a gun.

“She said, ‘Oh my God he has a gun!’ and she slammed the door and he started kicking it from the other side,” David Silva said. “My sister got up and started holding the door closed and he just started shooting through the door.”

Sara Silva was fatally struck by multiple bullets and her mother was struck in her arm.

“They said she (his sister) got hit in her heart and stomach but I just don’t know how many shots,” David Silva said. “My mother got out of the hospital yesterday but had to have surgery. She had plates put in her arm because it shattered the whole bone. I believe my sister is a hero because she was holding the door to keep him out. If he would have came through, he could have shot and killed everyone in the room.”

David Silva said he is still in disbelief.

“It is like a dream,” he said. “I have been crying and my parents have been crying, but I haven’t been able to let it out yet. It doesn’t seem real. Tomorrow, I still feel like I am going to wake up and come by and she is going to be here.”

David replaced the door where bullet holes still remain so that his mother doesn’t have to re-live such a tragic reality.

“I had to clean up all of the blood from the pillows and blankets and off the porch where my mother was getting her bandage for her bullet wound,” he said. “It was horrifying to come in and see all of that, especially knowing that blood was my sister’s.”

He said he wants her sister’s loss to serve as a reminder to other victims of domestic violence.

“Love is blind sometimes,” he said. “You don’t want to reach out for help but if there is a woman out there being abused, they should walk out of the relationship. Don’t wait. Walk away from that because you don’t need that in your lives.”

Castillo agrees.

“I think maybe she just didn’t want to tell the truth or stuff was happening that she didn’t want anyone to know for him to just come out and do something so horrific,” she said. “Don’t be ashamed, you know. Just reach out to someone and maybe it could be a life-changing thing for you to prevent something from happening.”

Held did turn himself into Dallas police after he was wanted for murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

“I can never forgive this guy,” David Silva said. “I hope I can be there in court to let him feel how I feel about him. Ask him why he did. What were your intentions? Why didn’t you get up and leave?”

The family is raising funds to help pay for funeral expenses. They are holding a plate sale next Saturday starting at noon at 1227 East El Monte in San Antonio.

If you would like to know more on how you can help the family with funds, you can contact Sara Silva’s brother at ds1987759@gmail.com or her sister-in-law at rxqueen3113@gmail.com.

More on KSAT:

1 woman dead, 1 injured in shooting at North Side home, San Antonio police say


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.