*Why you should read this: Because Alejandra is a tragic loss for the more than 55 million-strong U.S. Latino community. Because any loss to violence is tragic. VL

By  , ,  and

Colorado college student Alejandra Villanueva was enjoying a 10-day electronic music festival in Mexico when her night of revelry turned into a nightmare. The 18-year-old Denver woman was identified as the lone American killed after a gunman opened fire early Monday at a nightclub in the popular beachside resort of Playa Del Carmen.

Her brother confirmed to NBC News that she was among the five fatalities after Mexican authorities said a female patron died in an ensuing stampede as club-goers fled the shooting.

Witnesses who were with Villanueva described how they tried desperately to protect her.

Ignacio Valencia, of Houston, said they were sitting outside the Blue Parrot club when a flood of panicked patrons ran toward them at around 2:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET).


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[Photo couertesy of Roberto Martinez]

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