CERES (CBS) — A high school football star is in big trouble facing a handful of charges after police link him to a series of armed robberies.
The 18-year-old senior from Ceres attended Modesto Christian School. Administrators said he was even gaining interest from recruiters, but now that’s all up in the air.
Surveillance video at Quik Stop in Ceres shows Gates walking up to the store shortly after midnight two days in a row. Police said he was attempting to rob the clerk.
“We’re heartbroken over it, Davion is part of our family,” said Jonathan Burton, superintendent, Modesto Christian School.
Investigators said Gates was wearing a dark colored hooded jacket and a white mask. On the third attempt to rob the store, police said Gates noticed officers and started running. He then dropped his handgun while leading officers on a short foot pursuit.
“We just are still trying to figure out how this happened because that is not the Davion we know, and that is also not the culture that our football coach instills with his players,” said Burton
Investigators have since linked Gates to several other armed robberies of convenience stores throughout Ceres. He now faces three counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery.
“People come from homes that are not so great, and homes that are great, but I think it’s the person inside that makes the decision,” said Robert Ruvalcaba, who lives in Ceres.
Although Gates lives in Ceres, he attends Modesto Christian School. Administrators said he was a star football player with big plans to attend college.
“I wish there was more community involvement or even direction for the kids. We see a lot of things on TV and things like that, perhaps are an influence on youth today, and the youth need a lot of guidance,” said Ruvalcaba.
Grief counselors have been on campus talking with students and helping them cope through this difficult time. Meanwhile, business owners say they can now rest easy knowing the teen is behind bars.
Administrators say teachers met recently to discuss the arrest. They said, like family members, they are still processing the entire situation.