January 22, 2022

Global News Archive

News archives from around the world.

Garland police looking for 14-year-old boy who they believe was gunman in Texaco slayings – The Dallas Morning News

5 min read

Garland police said Wednesday that they’ve identified the gunman who fatally shot three teenagers at a gas station Sunday and believe he is armed, dangerous and evading arrest.

Officers are searching for 14-year-old Abel Elias Acosta. The Dallas Morning News typically does not name juveniles suspected of a crime but is making an exception because Acosta is believed to pose a threat to public safety.

“Anyone who has knowledge of the whereabouts of Abel is encouraged to call 911 immediately,” Garland police said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

Abel Elias Acosta
Abel Elias Acosta(Garland police)

Police said they intend to pursue a capital murder charge against Acosta, whose father already has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Police took another 14-year-old boy into custody Monday but later released him, saying he was not the shooter.

The shooting killed three teen boys — 14-year-old Xavier Gonzalez, 16-year-old Ivan Noyala and 17-year-old Rafael Garcia — and wounded a 15-year-old cook who had started working at the store last week and whose name has not been released.

The shooting

Police said Acosta’s father, 33-year-old Richard Acosta Jr., drove him to and from the Texaco station Sunday night. Richard Acosta was seen on surveillance camera footage inside the store a short time before the shooting, police said.

Just before the shooting, the driver stopped a white Dodge pickup in front of the store. Video footage showed the shooter get out of the pickup, crouch along the store windows, open the front door and shoot at least 20 times, police said.

The gunman, who was firing a .40-caliber handgun with an extended magazine, then got back in the pickup and fled.

Police have said they believe the shooting was in retaliation for a prior dispute, but they have not elaborated on that incident.

At least one of the victims was the shooter’s intended target, said Lt. Pedro Barineau, a spokesman for the department. Investigators have determined Xavier and the cook were not intended targets.

The victims

Xavier’s family said he was buying food and texting his girlfriend when the shooter fired into the store.

His relatives were among the dozens of people who gathered for a vigil Tuesday at the Texaco station. They said he was industrious, made friends easily, and dreamed of being a ranch hand or cowboy one day.

Family members of Ivan and Rafael did not respond to interview requests.

According to his obituary, Ivan was a brother to three siblings. He was always smiling and was a hard worker who prioritized the well-being of his family, according to a GoFundMe account.

Xavier Gonzalez
Xavier Gonzalez(Gonzalez family)

Rafael had five siblings, according to his obituary.

Funerals for Xavier and Ivan are Thursday. Rafael’s funeral is scheduled for Jan. 5.

At large

Police said that anyone with knowledge of Abel Acosta’s whereabouts should call 911. Authorities described him as 5-5 and about 125 pounds, with dark hair and brown eyes.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to Acosta’s capture. Anonymous tips may be made by calling 972-272-8477 or visiting garlandcrimestoppers.org.

Richard Acosta turned himself in to police on Monday. He faces a charge of capital murder and was being held Wednesday in the Dallas County jail. His bail had not been set, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Richard Acosta pleaded no contest in 2012 to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to three months in jail, court records show. He has no other apparent criminal history.

On Monday, Garland police took another 14-year-old boy into custody, saying at the time they believed he was the gunman. They have since ruled him out as the shooter and released him, but they said the teen had “intimate knowledge” of the crime and could still face charges.

Once detained, Abel Acosta will be placed in the juvenile justice system. Prosecutors could, however, seek to have Acosta certified to stand trial as an adult.

Juvenile suspects who are 15 or 16 can be certified for any offense, while 14-year-olds can be certified as adults only in the most serious cases.

In either case, Acosta would not face the state’s most severe punishments. The U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited sentences of capital punishment and life in prison without the possibility of parole for juveniles even if they’re certified to stand trial as an adult.

If Acosta is eventually convicted in adult court of capital murder, he will automatically be sentenced to life behind bars but would become eligible for parole after serving 40 years. If he remains in juvenile court, the most prison time he could face is 40 years.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot declined to comment on the case.

‘God will take care of it’

Family and friends of Xavier Gonzalez could be seen wiping away tears and sharing hugs outside a visitation for the teen Wednesday afternoon in Garland. Many wore gear representing the Dallas Cowboys, Xavier’s favorite team.

“The things that he got caught up in that store, it wasn’t his problem,” said Rafael Gonzalez, an uncle. “Someone made it his problem, and that’s the bad thing about it.”

Lluneli Lopez kneeled by her son Xavier during a visitation service at Pilar Funeral Home in Garland on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.
Lluneli Lopez kneeled by her son Xavier during a visitation service at Pilar Funeral Home in Garland on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.(Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

Gonzalez said capture of the gunman would bring the family closure. He said he believes justice will be served.

”God will take care of it, sooner or later,” he said.

The day before the shooting, Gonzalez said, he and Xavier went hunting and had a long talk about life and goals.

”He was planning to marry his girlfriend and … be a figure in this world for somebody,” he said. “That’s where his heart was.”

He said his nephew was an industrious person who loved working with the cattle at his grandfather’s ranch and helping out family members on construction jobs during the summer.

”He always wanted to be like me, trying get to a place where you own your own business and be your own person and be a model for the community,” Gonzalez said.

Of the news that 33-year-old Richard Acosta Jr., believed to be the driver in the slayings, is the father of 14-year-old shooting suspect Abel Acosta, Gonzalez called on parents to be better role models.

”We need to be more together with our kids, appreciate every day, show them what life is and what you can accomplish,” he said.

Source Link

Leave a Reply

Copyright ©2016-2021 Global News Archive. All rights reserved.