'I'm proud of her': Mom of Waukegan high school volleyball coach killed in shooting breaks silence

$5M bond for 2 teens charged in Niolis Collazo's shooting death caught on surveillance video

ByChristian Piekos and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, June 2, 2023
Mother of suburban volleyball coach killed in shooting breaks silence
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David Dejesus and Yahir A. Torrecilla were held on $5 million bond in the shooting death of Waukegan volleyball coach and counselor Niolis Collazo.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- David DeJesus, 16, and Yahir Torrecilla, 17, are being charged as adults.

They both face three counts of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Waukegan High School volleyball coach Niolis Collazo last month.

ABC7 spoke with her mother on Friday for the first time. She says something has to change.

"My heart is full, because every day, we say our 'I love you.' Every day, I love her, and I know she loves me back," said Nitza Rivera, Collazo's mother.

Rivera is facing the deepest of grief right now.

"Amazing daughter, amazing daughter," Rivera said.

Her middle child was shot and killed on Lewis Avenue in Waukegan back in early May while driving home from North Chicago. The entire incident was caught on surveillance video.

"I do not understand the thinking of these people doing these crimes," Rivera said.

Rivera said her daughter was on a mission to change lives. She was a boys' volleyball coach at Waukegan High School, and worked closely with students as a mentor at Smith Middle School.

"She's been always trying to make our community better. That was the goal," Rivera said. "She said she believed she could change lives, and that she could change the mentality of a kid."

Almost one month since her daughter's death, a banner with a grieving mother's call to action hangs in front of her home.

Rivera now has her daughter's name tattooed on her arm with the numbers "444," a reminder that she is being cared for by her guardian angel.

"I would tell her that I'm proud of her," Rivera said. "I wish I could see her."

Both of the teens charged in Collazo's death are due back in court next week. They are being held on $5 million bond.