The aunt of a 13-year-old found guilty in the May 13 shooting that killed a North Texas Sonic employee has been charged with manslaughter, the Keene Police Department announced in a news release Wednesday.
The teen’s aunt, 18-year-old Ashley Gomez, was arrested Wednesday in Johnson County.
She is charged with manslaughter in the death of Matthew Davis, 32, who was an employee at the Sonic fast-food restaurant located in the 300 block of South Old Betsy in Keene.
According to the release, Keene police officers found Davis with multiple gunshot wounds after receiving reports of a shooting at the Sonic on the evening of May 13, 2023. Davis was transported by air to Harris Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police say the 13-year-old’s uncle, 20-year-old Angel Gomez of Fort Worth, had arrived at Sonic with other family members in his vehicle. The uncle began acting disorderly in the parking lot and was confronted by Davis, investigators said. An argument ensued and turned physical, according to the release.
During the altercation, a passenger in Angel’s vehicle, the juvenile — who was 12 at the time — retrieved a firearm and shot multiple times at the victim, police said.
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The teen and his uncle then fled the scene. His uncle later returned to the scene, where he was taken into custody.
The teen was also taken into custody after being located by authorities in Rio Vista, about an hour south of Fort Worth. Several firearms were recovered.
The 13-year-old was found delinquent of murder by a jury on Oct. 5, the equivalent of guilty in juvenile court.
The 13-year-old faces up to 40 years in the Texas juvenile justice department, according to the his defense attorney, Seth Fuller.
Court documents obtained by the Dallas Morning News say the teen’s aunt, Ashley Gomez, handed him the gun and told him “go” just before he fatally shot Davis.
“There’s differing accounts of whether she said ‘go shoot’, ‘go scare him.’ There are different accounts of what she meant, she just said ‘go’ but meant to shoot or scare him [Davis],” said Fuller in a video he posted on YouTube.
According to Fuller, the teen’s uncle asked Ashley why she gave him the gun out of concern for his nephew. When Angel and Ashley returned to the scene, she lied to police saying the teen grabbed the gun, Fuller said in the video, but witnesses told authorities that the aunt told her nephew to grab the gun and said “go.”
In a statement signed by Ashley, she said she handed the gun to her nephew and admitted to saying “go,” but said she meant for him to stop the fight by scaring Davis, Fuller said. She also said in the statement that she did not go out to stop the fight herself because she thought she was too intoxicated to walk.
The sentencing hearing for the 13-year-old was scheduled for Wednesday after being delayed by a Johnson County judge after the court heard testimony from family members, according to Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV.