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12-year-old Charged with Murder of 24-year-old Man During Home Invasion in Uvalde


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A 12-year-old boy has been charged in the shooting death of an up-and-coming boxer in Uvalde.

John Duane VanMeter was shot in his Uvalde home around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Uvalde police said a woman, identified as VanMeter's  girlfriend Sammy Arellano, called 911 after someone tried to kick in the door at the home and shot VanMeter in the head.

VanMeter, 24, was taken to the hospital but died.

Witnesses in VanMeter's neighborhood reported seeing a man, wearing all black clothing, including a black bandana over his face, running from the house. Detectives have not clarified whether the 12-year-old boy is the person seen fleeing VanMeter's home.

Authorities have not disclosed the 12-year-old's name due to his age. Since he is under the age of 14, the boy cannot be tried as an adult and would instead need to be charged as a juvenile. Under Texas law, the boy would face a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

"This is not something that happens every day here," said Daniel Rodriguez, Uvalde's police chief. "This is kind of shocking to us and our community."

VanMeter is a known figure in Uvalde, especially in the boxing community. Family members said he turned pro last year.

Authorities are now investigating to determine the pre-teen's motive and how he got a gun. Arellano said she and VanMeter had welcomed the suspect into their home in late 2018 for about a week. The woman said the suspect was formerly friends with her son, whose PlayStation was reportedly missing after the invasion. Arellano said the suspect previously made threats against her son and that she informed his school, but nothing was done. The Texas Rangers are now assisting Uvalde police in the investigation.

The suspect is being held at the Jourdanton Juvenile Detention Center on a capital murder charge.

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