12-year-old killed in shooting at McDonald's drive-thru was a spelling bee champion

A Lubbock ISD employee gave Damien the opportunity to attend a baseball camp with AJ Ramos,...
A Lubbock ISD employee gave Damien the opportunity to attend a baseball camp with AJ Ramos, where this photo was taken.  (Source: LISD)
Published: Feb. 9, 2018 at 3:04 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2018 at 10:21 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Damien Cortez , left, Spelling Bee winner (Source: LISD)
Damien Cortez , left, Spelling Bee winner (Source: LISD)
Damien Cortez (Source: Family members)
Damien Cortez (Source: Family members)
(Source: KCBD)
(Source: KCBD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Officials with the Lubbock Police Department say a 12-year-old boy was shot in a vehicle in the drive-thru at McDonald's at 50th Street and I-27.

Police say the shooting appears to be accidental.

Family members and police reports have identified the child as 12-year-old Damien Cortez. Elsa Montes, the principal at Hodges Elementary, where Damien attended school last year, says "Damien was a very bright child. He was the spelling bee champion at Hodges last year."

Emergency officials received a call around 6:20 p.m. about someone being shot at the restaurant's drive-thru. Witnesses say a car pulled into the drive-thru, the McDonald's employee heard a pop through his speaker, then came out and found a person dead.

The investigation revealed there were six people inside a vehicle going through the drive-thru. One of the 12-year-old's siblings, a teenager, was in possession of a gun. At some point inside the car, the gun was pulled out and was fired, striking the 12-year-old.

Detectives with LPD's Persons Crimes Unit were called to the scene to begin an investigation into the shooting. Detectives are investigating all aspects of this incident including how the teen came into possession of the gun. They are also investigating who knew the teen was in possession of the gun.

All involved parties in the shooting are cooperating with investigators.

People inside the restaurant were not allowed to leave until 8 p.m.

Investigators will continue to gather information and present the case to the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office for their review.

He was a big fan of Estacado High School graduate and professional baseball player AJ Ramos. Cortez was also a student at New Deal Middle School but moved away near Christmas break.

"We are deeply saddened and heartbroken to hear the news of Damien passing away last night," Jesus Arenas, New Deal Middle School principal, said in an emailed statement. "We have our counselor working with our students as they process this tragic news. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Damien Cortez was also a member of the Glad Tidings Church.

"He always had a way of throwing in little pieces of humor, it would come out of no where," Youth Pastor Marcus Moreno said, "he would say something and it would just make you laugh, so i guess he was funny with out trying to be."

A celebration of life service will be held for Damien at Lubbock Impact, 34th & Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m.

Copyright 2018 KCBD. All rights reserved.