'That could have been me:' Emotional East Bay vigil for murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Outrage about the death of Army soldier, Vanessa Guillen, is spreading across the country.

On Monday night, the East Bay community and beyond rallied in Richmond with a caravan and vigil for Guillen.

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The 20-year-old Army soldier was killed while stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. The suspect and fellow soldier, Aaron Robinson, shot himself last week. Family says Robinson had been sexually harassing Guillen.

"That could have been me," said former Army Reservist and Richmond resident, Estefany Sanchez, who organized the vigil.

"I'm a Latina woman and I was in the Army serving for this country and I feel like they failed her, and we are just trying to fight and make a movement to honor her name everywhere."

Nobody ABC7 spoke to at the Richmond vigil knew Vanessa Guillen personally. Nevertheless, many people felt connected to her and her story.

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"I'm a mother. My daughter is 23, my son is 18, and I can feel pain. I can only imagine the pain that the mother's going through," said Rosa Rodriguez-Flores, who came to the vigil because she's angry about how long it took the Air Force to release information about the investigation.

"Too little, too late," said Rodriguez-Flores.

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"It's really heart breaking that we all feel like we're just supposed to take it," said Pittsburg resident, Annelise Sotelo, who says she was sexually assaulted and harassed by three different people while she was in the Air Force.

"There's a really big stigma with reporting. I think that we're scared because we see over and over that nothing's done. I think that especially being a woman of color, I got labeled a crazy Latina," said Sotelo, who added. "It made me feel like nobody believes me already, so I need to just stay quiet."

Sotelo says the military needs to change reporting structure, so members can disclose harassment or assault to someone outside their chain of command, which is what she says she was forced to do.

She also believes there's been a major lack of accountability when it comes to the military's investigation into Guillen's death.

"There's no way that that happened and no one else knows," she said.
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