With adoring fans, a supportive family, a sexy stage act, a distinctly emotional voice and a Grammy on her shelf before her 23rd birthday, Selena was THE star of the emerging Tejano music scene.

As she prepared her first recording in English, her native language, industry watchers pegged Selena as the Mexican-American singer poised to crash through to mainstream pop and maybe superstardom.It all ended with gunshots at a budget motel.

Police said Saturday that Selena went to a motel room Friday morning to fire the founder of her fan club, who ran a San Antonio boutique for her, and the woman shot her once in the upper back with a .38-caliber revolver. Selena, who fled to the lobby, died in a hospital about an hour later.

"That's the problem with young people. They trust too much," said Selena's father and manager, Abraham Quintanilla. "They just think that there's no bad people out there who can hurt them."

Quintanilla said he recovered paperwork over the past few days that proves Yolanda Saldivar, a 34-year-old employee of Selena's growing music and retail empire, was skimming money from the fan club.

"I kind of felt that she was obsessed with Selena," said Quintanilla, speaking softly and slowly outside his house. "When we presented her with all the proof that she was embezzling money, she just lost it, I guess.

"I guess she felt that she was cornered."

After the shooting, Saldivar locked herself in a red pickup in the motel parking lot and held a SWAT team at bay for nine hours by holding a gun to her head.

With television crews and hundreds of Selena fans looking on, a sobbing Saldivar finally edged away from the truck and, in tiny steps, surrendered to police. She was charged with murder and jailed on $100,000 bail.

Selena Quintanilla Perez, who was 23, straddled two cultures. Like many Mexican-Americans growing up in Texas, she understood Spanish but spoke mainly English.

Simmering in that cultural niche is Tejano music - a mixture of Mexican ranchera and German polka, with pop, country and Caribbean influences thrown in.

Largely unknown to the mainstream U.S. market, Selena's passionate soprano and spotless image carried her band Selena y Los Dinos to the top of Tejano.

Selena's "Fotos y Recuerdos" ("Photographs and Memories") is No. 4 on Billboard's Latin chart this week. "Selena Live!" earned her a 1993 Grammy for best Mexican-American album. Her song "Amor Prohibido" (Forbidden Love) earned a 1994 Grammy nomination and sold more than 500,000 copies.