Boxer's Alleged Killer Is Just 12

Murder charges filed in shooting death of John VanMeter
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2019 10:43 AM CST
Boy, 12, Allegedly Kills Boxer With 'Heart of Gold'

A 24-year-old boxer in Texas is dead, and his suspected killer is half his age. Police have charged a 12-year-old boy with murder after John Duane VanMeter was shot in the head during a home burglary in Uvalde. VanMeter's girlfriend, Sammy Arellano, called 911 around 8pm Wednesday. She tells Fox 29 the couple had just finished dinner when a gunman broke into their home and "started pointing the gun at me and my son." When police arrived, they found VanMeter on the living room floor, reports the Uvalde Leader News. Arellano says her son recognized the shooter as a troubled classmate who'd stayed with the family for a week two months ago, per the San Antonio Express-News.

"It was just trouble … there was stealing, everything," Arellano tells Fox 29. "I told him he couldn't come around anymore." The suspect, who has not been named, was arrested late Thursday and is being held at a juvenile detention center. He's charged as a juvenile under Texas law and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. "We are at a loss for words," reads a statement from Tree City Boxing Club, which VanMeter joined at age 15 and where his locker has now become a shrine. Known as "The California Kid," VanMeter had a professional record of 2-4 and was one win away from a title fight, trainer David Hernandez tells the Express-News. "He hit like a hammer," but he had a "heart of gold and an amazing spirit," he says. A GoFundMe page is raising funeral funds. VanMeter had two children. (Read more murder stories.)

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