12-year-old among suspects in fatal shooting; victim was killed in front of his parents

One suspect is still on the loose

A 12-year-old boy is among three minors believed to be involved in the robbery of a California jewelry store and the killing of the storeowner’s son, KFSN-TV reports.

Authorities in Fresno arrested the child and another accomplice last week, but the third minor is still on the run.

The robbery occurred around 7 p.m. last Saturday when three males entered the store and asked to look at jewelry, the Fresno Bee reports. They then tried to run out of the store with the items.

When storeowner Maricela Gamez screamed, her husband ran after two of the suspects and her son, 22-year-old Christopher Leon, was able to grab onto a third. That suspect then pulled out a gun and shot Leon in the mouth.

Leon died two hours later at a hospital, the Associated Press reports.

Although a police department system to monitor shootings in the city picked up the gunfire, the suspects’ getaway car was already gone by the time the first officer arrived on the scene.

But police were able to get a license plate number and they tracked down the vehicle the day after the killing.

The two juveniles who have been captured face charges of robbery and murder. Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said his department has developed “significant leads” and expects to arrest the third suspect “in the very near future.”

“When a mother has to see her son killed right in front of her, that’s an unbearable tragedy,” Dyer said at a news conference.

Leon’s sister told the Fresno Bee that her brother was a humble, kind and respected person, and that he died trying to protect his mother.

Earlier this week, the 12-year-old boy entered court for the first time and was crying, the sister said.

“It’s sad to know there was a 12-year-old involved, a small 12-year-old who comes out crying,” the sister said. “I wish they would have thought about this before.”


Feature photo: ABC 30 screenshot