Teen robbers who carried out roughly a dozen robberies in east and southeast Fort Worth targeted Hispanics “because they’ve got money and they don’t call the police,” police say one suspect later explained.
During a 48-hour period beginning the night of July 1, Fort Worth investigators believe several teens — working in teams of usually two or four — robbed Hispanics in parking lots, on the street and even in the victims’ own yards.
“Typically they’ll just drive around until they see somebody that looks like a decent target and jump out to rob them,” said robbery Sgt. Mike Decker.
Jose Ontiveros was selling tacos outside El Duranguense Night Club at 3709 Mansfield Highway around 1:30 a.m. July 1 when he spotted two teens robbing a male visitor to the club in the parking lot, Decker said.
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The 58-year-old taco vendor went to intervene and was shot once in the abdomen.
At 6:43 a.m. on Friday — six days after the shooting — Ontiveros died at John Peter Smith Hospital.
Decker said Friday that a 16-year-old boy arrested Tuesday morning after a separate street robbery “is a primary suspect in this homicide.”
In Tuesday’s robbery, three Hispanic men were feeding horses around 6:30 a.m. in the 500 block of Trentman Street when they were approached by four teens who tried to rob them.
Decker said the victims in that case refused to cooperate with the robbers and managed to capture two of the teens — females ages 16 and 17 — and hold them until police arrived.
The two male suspects — the 16-year-old boy now suspected in Ontiveros’ shooting and a 17-year-old — ran away but were later found hiding in nearby sheds by patrol officers.
Decker said the 17-year-old and the female suspects are not believed to be involved in Ontiveros’ shooting.
Investigators say they believe at least eight teens have been involved in the string of robberies. The suspects are African-American, he said.
“They all know each other. They steal cars and then go rob people,” Decker said. “A statement that was made during our interviews was that we robbed the Hispanics because they’ve got money and they don’t call the police.”
The investigation is continuing, Decker said.