STOCKTON (CBS13) — Three young teens are accused of murdering a man who surprised them during a burglary, leaving many asking how three teens no older than 14 could kill a man in cold blood.
Sitting next to her parents, Odelia Ramirez is still trying to cope with the loss of her brother Jaime. He was gunned down at their Stockton home.
“Only God knows why,” said Ramirez.
Nearly two weeks after his death, police announced on Thursday that they arrested three suspects, incredibly just boys — a 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds.
“It’s hard because I have kids that age,” said Ramirez.
Jaime’s family is in shock at the suspects’ young ages. Detectives believe that Jaime was returning home in the middle of the day when he interrupted a burglary. After confronting those suspects, police say at least one of the boys opened fire.
“I probably thought it was someone older,” said Ramirez.
Police insist while crime rates are lowering, youth-committed crime is still an issue in Stockton.
“Unfortunately what we’ve seen across the nation is kids killing other people,” said Stockton Police Ofc. Joe Silva
But police insist there is a fight back.
Jaime Constantino is a coordinator for Peacekeepers, a city-funded youth intervention that helps kids stay productive that includes free boxing training.
“Some of the kids are tougher than others,” said Constantino.
He says hearing of the crime only furthers his dedication.
“It just reminds us that we just have to work that much harder, and as I mentioned earlier, there is a need. I just wish there was more of us,” said Constantino.
It’s a message to mentors echoed by a family in mourning.
“Keep them active, off the streets,” said Ramirez.
All three of the suspects have been charged with murder. The 13 -year-old will likely be charged as a juvenile. The other suspects will be charged as adults, as mandated by state law.