Teenager shot and killed in Thornton over True Religion shirt

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Fernando Perez was killed in Thornton in December after he organized a meeting to sell clothes, according to an affidavit.

THORNTON, Colo. – One of two teenagers charged with first-degree murder in connection with the murder of another teenager in December said he “freaked out” during a planned robbery of the victim and shot the a gun, but did not realize he had actually hit the victim, according to an arrest affidavit.

Jonathan Garcia, 19, and Matthew McMahon, 18, are charged with:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Aggravated theft
  • Conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery

RELATED: Teenager Shot in December Agreed to Meet Suspects to Sell Clothes, DA Says

They are charged with shooting and robbing 18-year-old Fernando Perez on December 3, 2021, in Thornton. According to the prosecutor’s office, Perez was killed after the suspects communicated with him on social media and arranged to meet him to buy clothes.

Perez brought two shirts and a pair of jeans to the meeting, the affidavit states. The suspects fled with one of the shirts, but the jeans were left at the crime scene, the affidavit states. We don’t know what happened to the other shirt.

According to Thornton Police Department (TPD)officers were called to the 101st Avenue and Clayton Street area around 8:17 p.m. Dec. 3 to a report of a person down.

A woman returning home spotted what she thought was a backpack on the sidewalk, then turned to get a better look at the object with her headlights because it was dark, the affidavit says. That’s when she spotted the victim and blood on the sidewalk, according to the document.

Thornton police responded and found an injured man, identified as Perez. He later died of his injuries in hospital.

A search of Perez’s phone led them to a conversation on Facebook where he was arranging a meeting to sell two shirts and a pair of pants for $250, the affidavit states.

Messages between Garcia and McMahon show them exchanging photos of the items they wanted to steal that appeared in a Perez ad. One was a red True Religion t-shirt, which was not found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.

RELATED: Shooting in Thornton leaves 18-year-old dead

Investigators then found photos of McMahon posted on his Facebook page in which he was wearing a red shirt, which matched the one missing from the crime scene, according to the affidavit. The photo was uploaded on December 9, the affidavit says.

Cellphone data from the two suspects puts them in the area where security footage obtained by investigators shows a gun was fired the night Perez was found, according to the affidavit.

Garcia eventually admitted that he and McMahon intentionally arranged the meeting with Perez to steal the clothes from him, the affidavit states. He said McMahon was driving and he was in the backseat, and said that was the “typical placement” when they commit robberies, in case the victim needs to get in the car, the report says. affidavit.

He said Perez first met them standing outside the driver’s side window and when they asked him to get inside the vehicle, Perez turned to walk away, the affidavit states.

Garcia said he “freaked out” and fired his gun, according to the affidavit, and also yelled at Perez to get in the vehicle. This statement was backed up by security video in which a male voice is heard yelling at the victim to get in the car as she drove past him, the affidavit states. Shortly after a shot was heard, according to the document. The video shows the victim bending down to pick up his dropped cell phone, the affidavit states. It also shows the suspect’s vehicle turning around and speeding away from the area.

The victim continued west on the sidewalk, before dropping the jeans on the sidewalk and collapsing where she was eventually found, the affidavit states.

During the interview, Garcia became emotional and said he didn’t know he had shot Perez and said he saw him walking near a parked truck as they left the area, reports the affidavit.

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