Why Did Yolanda Saldívar Shoot Selena? It Depends on Who You Ask

“My emotions were running so high, and I was hurting,” the convict recalled.

Melissa Willets - Author

May 3 2024, Updated 11:18 a.m. ET

Selena poses with her award for Best Mexican/American Album at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall, New York, New York, March 1, 1994
Source: Getty Images

It was March 31, 1995 when Selena Quintanilla-Perez's fan club manager Yolanda Saldívar shot the celebrated Tejano singer at a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Fans everywhere were shocked by the murder, and even today, Selena remains a beloved figure in the music world.

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Why did Yolanda shoot the promising young star, who took her last breath at the tender age of 23 years old? There's one story, according to prosecutors and her still-shattered family, but quite another if you ask Yolanda.

Here's what to know about each side of the story.

Selena's mother Marcela Quintanilla, husband Chris Perez, and sister Suzette laying roses atop casket at her funeral in 1995
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Yolanda shoot Selena? The former fan club manager says it was an accident.

From a prison in Gatesville, Texas where Yolanda is serving her sentence for murdering Selena, the former close friend of the late superstar said in an Oxygen documentary released in February 2024 that the shooting was an accident.

Indeed, in Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them, Yolanda shares her version of events that horrible day, which were hotly disputed by prosecutors in court, and are still hailed as "lies" by the singer's family.

According to Yolanda, that fateful day in 1995 is when she told her famous employer she didn't want to work for her any longer, per Oxygen.

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Yolanda says Selena tried to convince her to stay on, and when they met at the hotel, the events that led to the gun going off were all a big mistake.

In the documentary, the imprisoned woman says, “Selena, when she came into the [hotel] room, she kept trying to put guilt in me for not continuing with her, and how everything was going to crumble."

“My emotions were running so high, and I was hurting,” the convict recalled, going on to say she didn't know how to use the gun she had in the room with her, and that it just went off. But, this didn't happen until after Yolanda had threatened to end her own life, and Selena begged her not to.

“I said, ‘Don’t close the door,’” Yolanda claimed. “And pow! it went.”

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Selena's family says Yolanda is a liar and that she meant to kill Selena.

Selena's dad, Abraham Quintanilla, told TMZ in February 2024 after the release of the Oxygen documentary that Yolanda's story is “nothing but lies.”

"No one’s gonna believe what she has to say anyway. Everyone knows there’s zero truth to anything that comes out of her mouth," the angry father maintained. He also asserted that the family had nothing to do with the documentary.

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Indeed, according to Selena's family, the Texas-born singer had actually fired Yolanda because she found out that her friend was embezzling money from her, but the artist's then-agent begged her to come to the hotel room to discuss things.

Yolanda had promised to show Selena documents to prove her innocence at that meeting, but instead, murdered the singer, according to prosecutors and the family.

Yolanda denies this version of what happened.

She is eligible for parole in 2025.

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