Two Texas teenagers were arrested this week over the death of a 25-year-old woman after the pair allegedly fired more than 100 rounds into her home, mistaking it for that of a rival gang member.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced in a Tuesday press conference that the teens, ages 15 and 17, face charges of aggravated assault with a weapon and murder in the October 2022 shooting of Novita Brazil. Salazar added that the older teen had taken to social media to challenge Bexar County’s gang unit to catch him.
Authorities did not name the 15-year-old because he is charged as a juvenile. The 17-year-old is being charged as an adult; HuffPost is not naming him because he is a minor.
A photo composite shows Novita Brazil (left) and the 17-year-old accused of killing her.
Brazil, a college student, was at her San Antonio home last year when the shooting occurred, killing her and injuring a 41-year-old Airbnb guest who was renting a room.
On a GoFundMe honoring Brazil, loved ones described her as “the sweetest person you would ever meet,” adding that she’d had a husband of three years. According to the fundraiser, a funeral was planned in Indonesia, where she was from and her family still lives.
Authorities said the teens, who were 16 and 14 at the time of the shooting, had driven by Brazil’s residence in a stolen vehicle and fired dozens of rounds, believing that the people inside were members of an opposing gang who had previously shot at them.
They then allegedly fled in the vehicle and dumped out several firearms, including an assault-style rifle. The two were soon taken into custody and later released on bail.
An arrest warrant for the older teen was issued last month. But authorities said he attempted to evade them by cutting off his ankle monitor.
“Tell everyone at gang unit I said catch me,” he allegedly wrote on social media, alongside a photo in which he obscured his face with multiple firearms.
At the time of his Tuesday arrest, he was livestreaming on Facebook and taunting officers, authorities said.
In the video, which was played at Salazar’s press conference, the 17-year-old is seen laughing as he is escorted by deputies.
The sheriff said the video showed him to be an “extremely cocky, very confident young man, confident that he’s going to take full advantage of the legal system.”
The 15-year-old was also taken into custody Tuesday and had similarly livestreamed his own capture.
“This is how much of a joke it is to these guys: During that pursuit, he was actually on Instagram shooting a live video, knowing full well that he was running from the cops, knowing full well he was going to be arrested at any given time, if they didn’t end up killing someone in the course this pursuit,” Salazar said. “It was just a big joke to them.”
The teens’ family members are likely to face charges related to harboring suspects and lying to authorities about their location, Salazar said.
According to court records, the 17-year-old’s arraignment is set for Dec. 1.