A teenaged murder suspect committed suicide while turning himself in to police, after his mother encouraged him to give himself up to authorities.
The suspect, an unidentified 17-year-old boy from Katy, Texas, confessed to murder before pulling out a gun and shooting himself in the head in front of his mother and a police officer, the Associated Press reports. The teen was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He died in the hospital later that day.
The teen’s victim was Army veteran James Ayala, 25, who was dating the same woman as his killer. When the suspect’s girlfriend called to tell him that she was seeing another man, he tracked down Ayala and attacked him, which ended in the teen shooting and killing Ayala.
When the teen’s mother learned what her son did, she urged him to turn himself in to police. She convinced him to drive to the sheriff’s substation just hours after the shooting took place. In the station’s parking lot, the suspect shot himself immediately after confessing to the murder, according to the Washington Post.
“She’s obviously destroyed because she just witnessed her son commit suicide in front of her,” said Harris County sheriff’s Sgt. Cedrick Collier.
According to Collier, the sergeant who witnessed the suicide has been placed on administrative leave so that he can “clear his head and make sure he’s OK.”
Ayala had served in Iraq and was stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia before leaving the Army as a corporal E-4 several years ago, according to his friend and fellow veteran Jordan Downhour. He was a father of five and a “standout guy in the Army,” Downhour said.
Ayala’s alleged killer was described by neighbor Aaron Summerour as having gotten “mixed up with the wrong crowd.” However, he said it looked like he had been improving prior to the incident. The teenager attended Morton Ranch High School.