Richard Acosta, a 33-year-old Texas father, was arrested in connection with a triple murder at a Texaco convenience store after turning himself in to authorities. On Dec. 26, he drove his 14-year-old son, Abel Elias Acosta, to the gas station store, where he inexplicably shot and killed three teens before fleeing the scene.
Police are still searching for the triple homicide suspect. A motive has yet to be revealed for the attack. According to authorities, Abel Elias Acosta was described as a “light-skinned Hispanic male with dark hair, brown eyes, approximately 5′ 05″ in height and weighing around 125 pounds.”
Law enforcement rarely releases the information of juvenile suspects, but Garland Police Public Information Officer Lieutenant Pedro Barineau revealed that, “because of the extenuating circumstances, the nature of the incident and the risk to the public the court has authorized the release of his information so we can locate his whereabouts.”
Entering the store, Abel was seen on surveillance footage quickly firing off rounds and killing 14-year-old Xavier Gonzalez, 16-year-old Ivan Noyala and 17-year-old Rafael Garcia. All three teenagers were pronounced dead at the scene, with an unnamed fourth person rushed to the hospital. The fourth teenager is reportedly in stable condition, according to ABC News.
“The day after Christmas they’ve lost their loves ones,” Garland Police Chief Jeff Bryan said of the victim’s families at the press conference. “Our community wants to know answers.”
Richard Acosta’s bond was set at $1 million as investigators try to learn what happened that led to the attack. Authorities haven’t revealed why the father decided to turn himself in. It’s unclear if there are leads on the location of the son.
Surveillance footage showed that after the father and son appeared at the convenience store and he shot the three teenagers, young Abel Elias Acosta got back into his father’s truck and they both drove off together. He allegedly fired off 20 rounds with a .40-caliber pistol and escaped in a Dodge Ram pickup truck. The incident marked the last time that Abel was seen in public.
“The fact that he drove away quickly – he knew,” Officer Barineau said of Richard Acosta, “and that’s the reason why he’s also being charged with capital murder.”
A $5,000 reward has been announced for anyone with information about his son’s whereabouts, with authorities describing the 14-year-old as “actively evading capture.”
“Somebody knows where he’s at,” Officer Barineau told the press. “He’s not doing this on his own, he’s only 14. He is armed, and he is dangerous. We need the public to step up and turn him in. We need to get him off the street.”
Barineau also revealed that one of the victims who was shot in the Texaco convenience store was part of a previous incident with Abel Acosta, though he did not specify what occurred in the past.
At a funeral service on Wednesday for Xavier Gonzalez, a 14-year-old slain in the triple homicide, his uncle Rafael said that he hopes the suspect will be caught soon, and that his nephew had nothing to do with whatever motivated the attack.
“It would provide closure for the family,” Raphael Gonzalez told local reporters. “Knowing that his life wasn’t just something you can just throw away.”
“All he was going to do was go buy food for the family and come back home. That was it and he didn’t make it,” Rafael Gonzalez said. “He didn’t make it home because somebody made a bad decision.”
According to ABC News, mass shootings in Texas rose by 65% in 2021 as post-pandemic violence plagued the state. The Gun Violence Archive also stated that mass shootings were up 21% nationwide.