A cheerleader and three teenagers are suspected of killing a high school student over $25 worth of vaping products. Lloyd Chavez was shot dead outside his home in Centennial, a city 16 miles south-east of Denver, Colorado, at 9:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. ET) on May 8.
According to a statement from Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, the 18-year-old victim was lying on his back inside the front door when officers arrived at the scene on East Powers Lane.
Police believe the murder was a case of robbery gone wrong, as Chavez was known around school for selling vape products. Inside his home, investigators found four flavored Juice Head Salts and two SMOK Nord kits used for vaping.
CBS Denver reported that Chavez was shot in the chest and managed to identify his shooter as “Kenny,” a junior at Cherokee Trail High School, before being rushed into surgery. Chavez, a high school rugby player, did not survive and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The suspect has since been identified as Kenneth Gallegos, who had transferred from Cherokee Trail to Grandview High School. He was arrested by Arapahoe County police, along with Juliana Serrano, Dominic Stager and Demarea Mitchell.
According to the Denver Post, Serrano, a 17-year-old cheerleader at Cherokee Trail, told investigators that the quartet had gone to Chavez’s house to rob him of vape juice.
Colorado laws state people must be at least 18 years of age to purchase vaping supplies and investigators believe the illegal vape sale was coordinated via Snapchat.
Police indicated the last picture Serrano had sent via Snapchat was a photo of the products she wanted to buy, to which Chavez replied with his address.
The cheerleader initially stated she had not gone to Chavez’s house, but eventually changed her version of events and admitted she joined Mitchell and Gallegos.
Once they reached Chavez’s residence, money was exchanged. Investigators later confirmed the sum was approximately $25. Two days after the incident, Gallegos told investigators she handed over the money to Chavez, before taking it back shortly afterward.
The victim and Mitchell began arguing in the front yard and at some point during the altercation, a shot was fired and hit Chavez in the chest. Serrano insisted it was Mitchell who fired the shot, explaining Gallegos had not got physically involved in the altercation.
Gallegos was arrested last week and appeared in Arapahoe County Court on Wednesday, a day before the other three members of the group. CBS Denver reported that Gallegos’ mother told investigators she believed her son was addicted to JUUL pods—a popular brand of e-cigarettes.
The quartet have been charged as adults. Gallegos and Serrano were charged with first degree murder, violent crime causing serious bodily injury/death, violent crime using a weapon, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
Stager and Mitchell were charged with two counts of first degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. No bond amount was set for any of the four.