Lubbock Police say the killers of a Texas Tech student are off the streets. Two teenagers are now accused in the August 14th shooting death of 21-year-old Texas Tech student Colin Schafer.
17-year-old Gabriel Gonzales and 19-year-old Joe Gonzales are both in the Lubbock County jail on capital murder charges. Joe Gonzales was in court Friday afternoon. His bond was set at $5 million. Gabriel was also in court, but was being held in the juvenile justice center because he just turned 17 Friday.
The two teens were arrested Thursday afternoon for a separate shooting incident at 5311 47th Street. No one was hurt in that shooting, but according to police reports, Gabriel was involved in a fight with a man over drugs. He then shot out a screen door three times with a rifle. The patrol officer who worked that shooting noted certain similarities that linked it to the Schafer murder, in particular the rifle that was allegedly used in both incidents. The officer alerted homicide detectives and within a few hours ballistics evidence allowed police to make the arrests. Joe and Gabriel Gonzales were charged with deadly conduct for Thursday's shooting and are charged with capital murder for Colin Schafer's death.
So, a little more than a week after 21-year-old Colin Schafer was shot and killed, his suspected killers are now behind bars. Schafer was found dead the morning of August 14th inside his Jeep Cherokee at the Bank of America ATM at 50th and Slide. "This all started off with another crime that a patrol officer thought might be linked to the shooting at the ATM. He acted on that and got with detectives and followed up on leads," says First Assistant Lubbock County DA Matt Powell.
After their arrests, according to arrest warrants and court documents, Joe Gonzales told police in a written statement that it was Gabriel's idea to 'lick' or rob someone at gun point. The two men drove around for two hours until they found Schafer. They then followed Schafer all the way to his home. When Schafer pulled into his driveway, Joe says Gabriel got out of the Cadillac, ran up to Colin Schafer and pointed the rifle at him through his passenger side window. Gabriel then got into Schafer's Jeep Cherokee and allegedly forced him to drive to the ATM and withdraw $300 dollars. Joe Gonzales says he followed them in his Cadillac. After that, Joe says Gabriel got a 'from hell' look on his face and shot Schafer twice in the torso. Joe says Gabriel then stood there and looked at Schafer for five seconds before getting in the car. The two then drove home, turned on the news and watched the news about what they had just done on TV. Joe's statement indicates it was a random act of violence, and Schafer was not involved in any wrong-doing.
"What I can tell you is the young man who was killed was not in a situation that caused him to be killed. It was not a situation like that in my opinion," says Powell. Police say, after making the arrests, they found Schafer's wallet and the rifle where the suspects were living. The DA's office says they are extremely impressed with the quick police work of the patrol officers and homicide detectives involved.
Because Gabriel was only 16 last week at the time of the murder, the DA's office cannot pursue the death penalty against him. However, the DA can certify Gabriel as an adult and try him on Capital Murder charges. As for Joe Gonzales, even though he says he did not shoot the rifle, Texas law states he can face the death penalty for simply being associated with a capital murder.