Updated: February 24, 2020 10:45 PM
Created: February 24, 2020 10:42 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexico parents are fighting for justice for their 16-year-old son after he was shot and killed in Farmington late last year.
According to Farmington Police, 15-year-old Xavion Montaño is being charged with involuntary manslaughter for Elijah Chavez's death. He's expected to make an appearance in court next week—but that's a slap on the wrist as far as Chavez's parents are concerned. They said this ending should never have happened.
“He loved to bring joy to others,” said Sam Chavez, Elijah’s father. “He was outgoing, played sports, anyone that needed help he was always there to try to help out.”
Elijah was with his dad, Sam Chavez, in Farmington last Dec. 14.
“So I got a call about 4:30 in the morning and all they said, it was a young girl using his phone, she said 'Elijah can't drive, can you come pick him up?' I said 'Sure, no problem,'" he said.
Chavez said Elijah had been drinking, and appeared to be really sick. That's what he told Yvonne Delao, Elijah's mom who lives in Española.
“I told him to go get Gatorade and maybe we could take him the urgent care,” Delao said. “But we just thought he's 16. Alcohol poisoning and that’s it.”
A few hours later Chavez said Elijah was unresponsive. He called 911, but Elijah was gone.
“So I got a text from my oldest saying Elijah doesn’t look good,” Delao said. “He looks pale and he's not breathing and then that was it. I was trying to call my oldest, and nothing. Then I got the phone call from Sam that I needed to go up there right away that Elijah was gone. That was it.”
It was only when Chavez was moving him that he noticed a small hole in his back. That's how he found out his son had been shot and was bleeding internally.
“I’ve never seen a gunshot wound. I didn’t know what it looked like. I figured it would be really messy or really bloody but it was very little blood, very small hole and I caught it way too late. I had no idea,” said Chavez.
Farmington police said there was a whole group of friends drinking and playing with a gun the night Elijah died. There were two accidental discharges: one through the roof of a vehicle they were in and another through the driver's seat where Elijah had been sitting.
But none of those teens ever called for help. They didn't even tell Chavez's dad about it when he picked him up.
“It just didn't make sense. Here's this kid that wants to help everybody. But when he needs help the most he's left on his own,” said Chavez.
Elijah's family buried him before Christmas.
His friend, 15-year-old Xavion Montaño, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. Police said he's in custody at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center.
“I think some jail time should be involved. I think he needs to be held accountable for what he did or didn’t do as far as getting help and telling people. I just want him to be accountable and I think the parents should be accountable too,” said Chavez.
But what about the others?
Chavez said first responders told him, if he had gotten Elijah help sooner, he may have survived.
“I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m hurt. I’m broke. There's just so many emotions. I wish I would have done things differently,” said Chavez.
Farmington police said those other teens are not being charged because New Mexico does not have a law for failing to render aid.
KOB 4 reached out to the district attorney's office in Farmington but never got a call back.
But there is some grey area in the law. In fact, legal expert and defense attorney Ahmad Assed said there's an argument for charging those other teens. He sent KOB 4 the following statement:
“This matter brings to light what may be a grey area under New Mexico law. However, It would be sound reasoning for a prosecutor to bring forth charges against these teens, if probable cause is established based on the evidence revealing any culpability or involvement in the criminal acts that lead to the shooting, and any criminal conduct after the shooting, but related to the incident. Certainly, conspiracy charges can be brought. Even if their criminal acts occurred after the shooting, but intended to cover up the shooting itself. Co-conspirator under these circumstances, have a duty to render aid may be held responsible for the death or injury to the decedent.”
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