Juan Borja was shot and killed while playing a game of Russian roulette with a friend at Peppermint Park in Freeport, Texas on Wednesday, local law enforcement officials say. The 13-year-old boy allegedly suggested playing the deadly gun game to his 14-year-old friend, the suspected shooter told police investigators.
The Texas teen allegedly loaded the gun with a single round and handed it to his unidentified friend. The grieving family of Juan Borja does not believe he possessed a gun. Borja was shot in the chest and immediately fell to the ground at the park, prompting the shooter to run away.
The 14-year-old teen who told Texas police officers about the game of Russian roulette has been charged with both manslaughter and tampering with evidence. The minor was arrested and taken into custody by Freeport law enforcement officers yesterday.
— Sophia Beausoleil (@kprc2sophiab) April 20, 2017
Both Juan Borja and the suspected Russian roulette shooter played in the school band together. The accused tried to hide the gun that killed the Texas teen in a field near Peppermint Park, CW39 reported. There may have been other teenagers either involved in the game or who witnessed the shooting, but also fled in fear after Borja was hit with a bullet.
Freeport police officers were called to the park after the shooting by neighboring residents. The citizens that called 911 said loud bangs were coming from the park and could possibly have been either fireworks or gunshots.
When the officers arrived at the park and began searching for the source of the noise they discovered Juan Borja lying face down in the dirt. The Texas teen was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Freeport law enforcement investigators are still not sure how the young teenager got a hold of the firearm that killed him.
— Melissa Correa (@MCorreaKHOU) April 20, 2017
Juan Borja’s shocking death has left his family stricken with grief. The young scholar would have been the first member of the family to attend college. Borja was reportedly a well-liked and well-rounded student, musician, and athlete at Freeport Intermediate School.
“Imagine the pain of a mother who loses a child who is only 13 years old with so many dreams,” Bella Gallardo, mother to Juan and his five sisters, said, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
Borja’s friends and family held a vigil at Peppermint Park near the area where the fatal game of Russian roulette took place. One of the teenager’s friends, Jahcorean Nelson, told local reports Juan was a nice person and “never did anything wrong” during his short life. Another classmate described Borja as the “definition of cool.”
“BISD is mourning the loss of one of our Freeport Intermediate students at this time. Our hearts are broken by this loss, and we extend our deepest sympathy to family and friends,” a statement released about Juan Borja by officials at his school, said.
Family of Juan Borja grieving at the site where he was shot with gun, police say, he had it & suggested Russian roulette. Report at 5 pic.twitter.com/GsK6V87828
— Mayra Moreno ABC13 (@MayraABC13) April 20, 2017
During a press conference hosted by the Freeport Police Department on Thursday officials said the 14-year-old manslaughter suspect is “remorseful.” The two teenagers attended school together and knew each other, to the degree that they were friends remains unclear.
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