2 San Diego Teenagers and Their Friend Tortured and Killed in Tijuana
Two San Diego teenagers and their friend were brutally slain execution-style Sunday in Mexico.
The victims, Christopher Alexis Gomez, 17, a football player at O' Farrell Charter High School and his friend of many years Juan Suarez-Ojeda, 18, a graduate of Ingenuity Charter School, had gone on a road trip to Ensenada last Friday for a barbecue and never returned, Gomez's cousin Katheryn Garcia told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Also with them was 17-year-old Tijuana high schooler, Angel Said Robles.
At around 5 a.m. on Nov. 25, the three boys were shot at an apartment complex in Tijuana — just miles from the U.S. border but an hour from where they were meant to be attending the barbecue.
When police discovered their dead bodies, Gomez, Suarez-Ojeda and Robles were wearing only their underwear, lying in front of the apartment door, according to local Mexican outlets, Fox 5 San Diego reported.
Seeing how their bodies fell, police believe the teenagers were forced to kneel before each was shot in the head. At this time, it is unclear as to what led up to the killings and the investigation is still ongoing.
Garcia also told the Union-Tribune, that Gomez was the “sweetest, most selfless person.”
“I know how this story sounds, like something that people hear on the news ‘you go to Tijuana and this happens,” Garcia continued. “This shouldn't have happened to him.”
She also explained the teen had a promising life ahead of him as he recently got his first job washing cars near the San Diego International Airport.
He also had plans to join the Marines, Garcia told the Union-Tribune.
“We're all in disbelief that this happened,” Garcia said.
According to the Union-Tribune, the murders took place in Lomas Verdes, an area plagued with crime — specifically high rates of homicide, drug dealing and domestic violence.
The Union-Tribune reported that neither Gomez nor Suarez-Ojeda had a criminal record, according to Mexican authorities, but Robles had car theft on his record.
However, Robles' family has since refuted that claim. According to the outlet, the family said the teen worked as a barista at a coffee shop and had plans to go to college to be an industrial engineer.
Jorge Alvarez, head of the Baja California Attorney General's Office in Tijuana, told the newspaper that the boys were familiar with the area where they were killed.
“They did not live there, but they came to visit family members, one of them apparently did so frequently,” Alvarez said.
Robles' uncle said his nephew lived in the neighborhood and so did Saurez-Ojeda's grandmother.
However, according to Garcia, her cousin Gomez had never been to Tijuana or Ensenada.
On Saturday, Robles allegedly called his mother to let her know they were safe but told her they had lost their phones, Garcia told the Union-Tribune.
After not hearing from them again, the family grew worried and contacted Baja California authorities. That's when they received a call on Sunday, informing them that the bodies of three boys were found at an apartment in Lomas Verdes.
Gomez's uncle then identified the bodies at a morgue in Tijuana.
Prior to his death, Saurez-Ojeda originally dropped out of school but returned to graduate. John Van Houton, a former teacher and coach at O'Farrell, which shares a campus with Ingenuity, says Saurez-Ojeda also played soccer.
Faculty members at O'Farrell School, which shares a campus with Ingenuity, has set up a GoFundMe site for the families of Gomez and Suarez-Ojeda in hopes of helping to cover their funeral costs.
According to the GoFundMe, Suarez-Ojeda has four other siblings at O'Farrell and Gomez has a younger sibling in the elementary school. Gomez also has an older sister named Celeste.
Garcia also set up a GoFundMe, specifically for her cousin. “The unexpected death has left his family with expenses they never thought they would have to worry about and all funds raised will be benefiting his family to deal with this tragic event,” the page reads.