A woman has been arrested on a manslaughter charge in connection to a worker being gunned down at a Sonic Drive-In in Keene in May.
Ashley Marmolejo Gomez, 20, was taken into police custody on November 1 as the result of an investigation into the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Matthew Davis by her then-12-year-old nephew.
The shooting occurred in the parking lot of the fast-food restaurant, where the boy’s uncle, Angel Gomez, allegedly got into a fight with Davis, who confronted him about urinating and causing a disturbance.
The boy, who had been seated in a car with Marmolejo Gomez, allegedly exited carrying an AR-15 rifle and began firing at Davis. The victim was shot several times and died, leaving behind a fiancée and a 10-year-old son.
The young suspect was found “delinquent” by a Johnson County jury last month — the equivalent of murder for minors — and is being held in a juvenile facility in Granbury.
Although police have not disclosed what led to Marmolejo Gomez being arrested, the accused gunman’s mother, Lizette Gomez, testified that she was to blame for the shooting before a Johnson County judge during her son’s punishment phase on November 1.
“He was manipulated by his aunt,” said Gomez. “He didn’t even know where the gun was. It was hiding under her chair, that’s when she got down and gave him the gun and told him: ‘Hey, go shoot him,’” according to NBC 5 DFW.
The boy’s uncle was also charged with murder and evidence tampering shortly after the shooting. He allegedly left the scene with the rifle.
The Keene community was deeply affected by the fatal shooting.
“A 12-year-old in this day has access to a gun and kills someone. Breaks my heart mainly,” said Dylan Elliott, who lives near the Sonic location, according to Fox 4 KDFW.
Jen Baggett, another resident, planned a memorial to pay tribute to Davis and try to bring comfort to his family.
“I was in disbelief. My youngest is 17, and I couldn’t imagine that happening,” Baggett said.
In nearby Dallas, the murder rate is up despite the efforts of local police to curb violent crime through a targeted approach to hotspots, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.
As of November 1, a total of 213 murders and non-negligent homicides had been logged this year, marking a spike of nearly 14% year over year, according to the Dallas Police Department’s crime analytics dashboard.
Dampening DPD’s efforts has been a longstanding officer shortage, which Chief Eddie Garcia recently addressed on The Dallas Express Podcast. Although an analysis recommended a ratio of three officers for every 1,000 residents, putting an ideal staffing level at roughly 4,000 officers, it has a force of fewer than 3,200 sworn personnel.
The effects of this shortfall are most apparent in Downtown Dallas, which logs significantly higher crime rates compared to Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter is reportedly patrolled by a designated neighborhood police unit working in concert with private security guards.