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Texas police release teen, say triple killing suspect at large

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 22:22:38-05

GARLAND, Texas (AP) — Dallas-area police have released a 14-year-old boy whom they had suspected in a weekend shooting that left three teenagers dead and a fourth badly wounded, saying the gunman is still on the loose.

Meanwhile, 33-year-old Richard Acosta Jr. has been arrested and charged with capital murder, accused of being the getaway driver in the shooting Sunday night at a gas station convenience store in the suburb northeast of Dallas.

The 14-year-old, whom authorities in Garland identified as the shooter Monday, was released to his family and is “not being charged at this time,” city police said Tuesday.

“The shooter is at large,” Lt. Pedro Barineau told The Associated Press.

Authorities did not name the suspected shooter, who was wearing a baseball hat, a blue surgical mask and dark-colored athletic shorts.

Barineau said the 14-year-old cooperated and was released based on new information that investigators obtained after Acosta surrendered late Monday. Police have not released the boy’s name.

The shootingwas captured on surveillance video. It shows a shirtless boy or man with a handgun approaching the gas station store while crouched. He swings open the door and starts shooting from the doorway.

Police said the shooter fired more than 20 rounds from a .40-caliber pistol before fleeing in the Dodge Ram pickup driven by Acosta, who they said also brought the gunman to the gas station.

Those killed were 14-year-old Xavier Gonazalez, 16-year-old Ivan Noyala, and 17-year-old Rafael Garcia, according to police. Before releasing their names, police had said two of the dead were 16 years old.

A 15-year-old who was a cook at the store was taken to the hospital following the shooting. Barineau said he is expected to survive.

Investigators believe the shooting was a retaliatory attack on one or more of the people in the store, Barineau said.

An attorney for Acosta, who is being held on a $1 million bond, could not be immediately identified.