Bay Area dance group honors UC Berkeley student killed in Mexico

Trujillo, who was on a research trip in Sonora, Mexico, was shot and killed last week. Local authorities are investigating.

Lauren Martinez Image
Friday, June 30, 2023
Bay Area dance group honors UC Berkeley student killed in Mexico
A Bay Area Aztec dance troupe is remembering Gabriel Trujillo, UC Berkeley student shot and killed in Mexico last week while doing plant research.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area Aztec group is dedicating this danza to Gabriel Trujillo, a UC Berkeley student killed last week in Mexico while doing plant research.

Manuel Garcia said Gabriel Trujillo was introduced to Danza Azteca In Lak'ech in 2017 by a UC Berkeley instructor. The instructor wanted Trujillo to find community.

"From the get-go, you could just tell he's you know, very gentle, very considerate - open," Garcia said.

UC Berkeley released the statement below:

Gabriel Trujillo, a UC Berkeley graduate student who was in Mexico doing field research, was killed last week in Sonora, Mexico. Local police authorities are investigating. This is heartbreaking news and campus officials have reached out to his family to offer support and assistance. Trujillo, a botanist, was a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the department of Integrative Biology. The campus received confirmation of his death on Friday, June 23rd.

Danza Azteca In Lak'ech holds practice every Tuesday and Thursdays. Thursdays practice in Antioch is about honoring Trujillo.

"Danza is not just dance, Danza is a corporal prayer," Garcia said.

Members brought photos, candles and flowers for the altar.

MORE: Americans who survived kidnapping in Mexico share details of captivity: 'None of us deserved it'

"He loved plants that was his life's work, you know, so we have flowers," Garcia said.

Garcia says Trujillo was engaged and met his fiancé through the danza group.

"The thing I want people to focus on is how much love he brought to everyone he was close to. He reminded all of us - I put a post - just remember, he reminded us to love and help one another," Garcia said.

Family members set up a GoFundMe to pay for travel and funeral expenses.

"The way that he went is very traumatic, and he was a very spiritual being, and we want his spirit to travel where it needs to go," Garcia said.

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