Teens charged in friend’s death; officer’s stolen gun used

The gun was stolen from a University of Texas police officer

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two teenagers are charged in the shooting death of their 17-year-old friend.

Patrick D. Molina, 18, is charged with manslaughter, accused of accidentally shooting Justice Presto in the neck with a stolen gun. Molina and 18-year-old Kent Haley are both charged with tampering with evidence. Police say the two moved the body, and are accused of dumping Presto’s body in the middle of the road in the 4500 block of Lareina Drive in Southwest Austin on June 22 about 10:30 p.m.

Police say the shooting occurred inside an apartment near William Cannon Drive and South 1st Street. When officers arrived on scene, they followed a trail of blood to the apartment, where they say they could see someone had tried to clean up a great deal of blood.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Officer’s weapon stolen

Police departments have policies on the guns and other equipment officers use.

A University of Texas officer had a gun, bulletproof vest, and baton stolen from their personal vehicle.

Austin police said it is up to the individual officer in their department to keep his or her equipment and gun secured.

If something is stolen or lost, the department will investigate to determine whether the officer is at fault.

Police are still piecing together exactly what happened. But they believe Molina is responsible for stealing a gun, ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and a baton out of a University of Texas police officer’s personal car in Pflugerville.

Investigators believe the theft occurred two days before the shooting. The court documents say the teens were using a knife to try to penetrate the bulletproof vest on the night of June 22. When that did not work, the document says Molina got the gun and may have been attempting to unload it when it fired, hitting Presto in the neck.

Other teens were allegedly in the apartment when this happened, but no one else has come forward. At that point, police believe Molina dragged Presto’s body out of the apartment, down the stairwell, leaving a trail of blood. A neighbor is quoted in the report as seeing Molina as the one dragging the body to a car in the parking lot.

Later, a 911 call, believed to have been made by Molina, led detectives to the location of Presto’s body on Lareina Drive.

When detectives went to the home of Kent Haley, they found Haley’s car parked near his house, and they say blood stains covered back seat of the car. The car is in police custody.

APD said both men have lawyers, but have not made statements. Sgt. Brian Miller says they are “still hopeful” the teens will speak to them and cooperate.

“I just feel so bad for Kent,” said Hayley, a neighbor of the Molinas. “I saw those three together all the time, and Justice was a good friend to them. I know Kent must feel terrible. He would never want this to happen to his friend.”

Haley was booked into jail and released after posting $25,000 bail. Molina, whose bond was set at $50,000, is still currently in the Travis County Jail.

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