LUBBOCK, Texas — Jaden Montelongo, 17, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of criminal negligent homicide.
Police were called on January 13 to a home in the 4900 block of 9th Street. Officers found Austin Cruz unresponsive and suffering from a gunshot wound. Police were told a gun, “went off on accident.”
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An officer found two of Cruz’s friends who were “hysterically crying and highly emotional.”
An arrest warrant said, “Montelongo and [the gunshot victim] were laying on the bed watching a video on his phone. [The gunshot victim] was laying on the floor to the south of the bed. Montelongo heard a “pop” go off and observed [the victim] with a gunshot wound to the mouth area. Montelongo advised that the gun was under the mattress in between the box spring and the mattress but no one was handling the firearm at the time it went off.”
But as officers continued to investigate, one of the witnesses gave a slighly different account.
“She stated at one point Jaden [Montelongo] and [the victim] had been playing around with the gun and pointing it at each other. She stated the last time she knew where the gun was it had been on the dresser next to Jaden,” the arrest warrant said.
“She stated Jaden had been screaming that it had been all his fault and he should have never brought the gun into the house. She stated Jaden started hitting himself.”
Another witness was talking with Cruz, Montelongo and the the other witness via an Instagram call. The friend told police that during the Instagram call he was told Montelongo had pointed the gun at Cruz. The Instagram witness did not see it on the call, but only heard about it.
Then, as police obtained Instagram records, there was a message from Montelongo which “indicated he murdered” Cruz, according to the warrant. “The message J. Montelongo sent stated he picked up the firearm, removed the magazine and the gun went off striking [the victim] mortally wounding him.”
Online jail records said Montelongo was arrested at 3502 North Holly Avenue, which is the location of the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Montelongo’s bond was listed Wednesday night as $50,000.
SPECIAL NOTE: This story was updated to provide more details on the Instagram message from Montelongo.
After this story was initially published, the Lubbock Police Department issued the following statement:
The Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit has made an arrest in the shooting death of 17-year-old Austin Cruz.
Lubbock Police Officers responded to a shots fired call in the 4900 block of 9th Street received at 9:04 a.m. Jan. 13. Officers located Cruz with a gunshot wound. He was transported by ambulance to University Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased.
The initial investigation indicates Cruz was visiting 17-year-old Jaden Montelongo at his house. Cruz and Montelongo were handling the firearm when Cruz was shot.
A warrant for criminally negligent homicide was issued for Montelongo, who turned himself into the Lubbock County Detention Center at approximately 8:30 p.m. January 25. He was booked into the center and is being held on $50,000 bond.