On the night of May 13th, locals in the small town of Keene, Texas gathered at their go-to hangout, the Sonic Drive-In restaurant. However, what started as an ordinary evening took a devastating turn. Matthew Davis, a beloved 32-year-old employee at Sonic, confronted two individuals – 12-year old boy and his uncle Angel Gomez – who were being disorderly in the parking lot. A physical altercation ensued between Davis and Gomez. Shockingly, the 12-year old boy, who was sat in the backseat of Gomez’s vehicle, pulled out an AR-15 style rifle and opened fire on Davis, fatally shooting him multiple times. Davis was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries. The crime sent shockwaves through the normally peaceful community.
Police launched an extensive investigation to track down the suspects. Through surveillance footage and witness accounts, they were able to identify the getaway vehicle and locate it at a residence around 20 miles south in Rio Vista. There, police apprehended the 12-year old boy and recovered several firearms. His uncle Angel Gomez later turned himself into authorities. The tragic killing raised questions on how a minor accessed such a deadly weapon.
Last week, the 12-year old boy finally faced trial for the murder of Matthew Davis. Over three intense days, prosecutors laid out evidence showing the boy willfully shot and killed Davis during the altercation. The defense argued it was not a pre-mediated killing. After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found the boy “delinquent” of the murder charge, the juvenile equivalent of guilty. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this week, facing up to 40 years behind bars.
The senseless killing has left the local Sonic community devastated. Davis was remembered as a kind soul who “always had a smile for the customers.” A GoFundMe campaign set up for his family has raised over $50k. Meanwhile, the 12-year old boy’s conviction at such a young age has sparked debate on juveniles and firearms.