A Texas teen has been charged with manslaughter after allegedly fatally shooting a classmate during a game of Russian roulette.
Police say 13-year-old Juan Borja brought a gun to a park in Freeport, Texas, on April 19. He reportedly showed it to his friends before loading it and suggesting that they play a game of Russian roulette. That’s when one of his friends took the gun and aimed it at Borja.
According to reporting from KIAH, the other boy allegedly pulled the trigger and shot Borja once in the chest. The teens scattered in a panic and one of them hid the weapon in a field.
When police arrived on the scene, they found Borja lying face down in the grass, unconscious. Paramedics administered CPR and transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Witnesses told investigators they heard a shot and then saw a number of teenagers fleeing the park.
Borja’s friend — a 14-year-old whose name has not been disclosed — was arrested the following afternoon and charged with manslaughter and tampering with evidence. “He [the suspect] is remorseful,” a police department spokesperson said. “They do know each other and attend school together.”
At a candlelight vigil on April 20, Borja’s friends described him as popular and kind. “He was just a nice person,” 13-year-old Jahcorean Nelson told the Houston Chronicle. “He never did anything wrong. There isn’t anybody like him,” 15-year-old Alex Parral said. “Nobody expected him to be in that position.”
Another friend who did not want to be named said Borja was “the definition of cool.” Borja’s mother is still coming to terms with what happened. “Imagine the pain of a mother who loses a child who is only 13 years old with so many dreams,” she said.
The Brazosport Independent School District was providing counseling for students at Freeport Intermediate School, where Borja played basketball and football in addition to being a member of the band.
“BISD is mourning the loss of one of our Freeport Intermediate students at this time,” the district said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken by this loss, and we extend our deepest sympathy to family and friends. Our District Crisis Intervention Team and other staff will be providing counseling services as needed for the students and staff members impacted by this tragedy.”
Police have not provided information about who the gun belonged to or how Borja gained access to it.