Family mourns 16-year-old soon-to-be father

Christian Santos was shot, killed Dec. 5 in 1300 block of Vermont Street

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio family is heartbroken over the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy who was about to be a father.

The shooting happened Dec. 5 in the 1300 block of Vermont Street on the city's South Side. 

Police said Juan Garcia, 17, who is in custody on a murder charge, and Salvador Garcia-Godinez, 17, who is still at large, are responsible for the shooting death of Christian Santos.

Santos' girlfriend, Leyda Perez, said the shooting caught her off-guard. 

"I was at his house with his mom running errands, and she couldn't get in touch with him," Perez said. "I was just so confused, because he wasn't answering any of our messages or phone calls." 

A while later, Perez said she got a call from Santos' mother telling her to go to the hospital. 

"I rushed over there and saw his mom in tears and his family all together," Perez said. "I just still can't really process it. It doesn't feel like he is gone. It feels like he is here with us." 

Perez, 17, is 38 weeks pregnant with Santos' son. Perez said she wants their child to know how fun and energetic Santos was. 

"He was, like, very strong and funny, and he would expect Javen (their son) to be the same way," Perez said. "Very strong and outgoing. Never looking down, but always looking up." 

Police said they believe the motive for the shooting was related to drugs and money, but Santos' family said that was not the case. 

"I don't think my brother would ever do that," said Oscar Acevedo, Santos' older brother. "He would ask my mom for money. Why would he do that and be involved in all of that?"

"He was not involved in drugs," Perez said. "Maybe it is because ... the neighborhood that this happened in is known for that, but it was not Christian. He was set up. I don't know if it was from jealousy or what, but Christian had no idea what he was walking into. He left the house thinking he was going to be with a friend, but instead he was trapped." 

The family believes Santos was set up for spiteful reasons by Garcia-Godinez. 

"We didn't know him that well, but we trusted that he was a good person. Our mistake." Perez said. "They worked together and would hang out. He (Santos) left the house that day and left happy, and he was going to be with his friend and was happy, because he had just started a job, because he was making money for our baby." 

Perez said Garcia-Godinez came over to Santos' house on Keats Street but then told him that he wanted to hang out at his place. She said the two walked to Vermont Street, where Garcia's family lived. 

"I am a little relieved that one person has been arrested for the crime, but I am still upset that the other is still at large," Perez said. "You were supposed to be his friend. You knew he had a baby on the way. You knew he was working and trying to (do) better for us. He took a lot from us." 

Acevedo said, like Perez, they are all in disbelief that they lost someone at such a young age. 

"I feel like my mom is going to send me to go looking for him, and I am going to call her and be like, 'Ma, he is over here, come pick him up!' But I know that is not going to happen, because he is gone," Acevedo said. 

Now the family is trying to raise money for funeral arrangements for Santos, who they say always made everyone laugh. 

"He had so much energy," Acevedo said. "It would be at night, and he would still be so energetic, and I would say, 'Kiki (Santos's nickname), go to sleep!"

"He was always joking and making everyone crack up," Perez said. "He was always there for people. You can never go wrong with being around him. Everyone loved being around him." 

Perez said the couple was thinking about a middle name for their son, but she decided that it would be Christian in honor of Santos. 

"You know, you just got to be careful of who you call a friend," Perez said. "Be careful about who you trust. That is what I want people to learn from this. It can happen to anyone. We just did not expect this to happen to him." 

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