Six teenagers ranging in age from 14 to 17 have been charged with the murder of 60-year-old Steve Gerecke in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Police allege that the six boys, whose names we have withheld due to their age, had been breaking in to homes in the community when Gerecke, a bartender, confronted them in his driveway when he returned home on June 26, KOAT reported.
“There are gaps that have to be filled, and there are still a lot of questions that have to be answered,” said Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden at a press conference, according to Daily Mail.
Some of the teens' break-ins were reportedly caught on surveillance footage. A credit card belonging to Gerecke's wife was also used at Walmart by one of the teens, which helped lead police to the suspects.
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Police announced that they know one of the teens fired several shots at Gerecke. Eden stated that one person in the group confessed to his role in the crimes last Thursday, and pointed to one of his friends as the shooter, according to KOAT.
“I want to address the parents of these animals,” Heather Alter, Gerecke’s daughter, said at the press conference. “Where were you? Why did you let your children run the streets at 3 a.m.?"
Reports indicate that the teenagers came from families dealing with drug problems and social issues, including homelessness.
Five of the six teenagers have criminal records or have been cautioned by police, according to Daily Mail. One of the teenagers was involved with his mother’s attempts to steal a vehicle several months ago.
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Four of the six teens are being charged as serious youth offenders, meaning that they will be tried as adults. Those four appeared in court on Friday.
The two 14-year-olds will be put on trial as juvenile offenders.
The bond for the teenagers has been set at $250,000 each, cash only, KOAT reported. As well as murder, charges against the teens include aggravated burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.
Gerecke’s family held a memorial for him Saturday.
“I can honestly say that for 25 years, I have been treated like a queen, spoiled rotten and, at times, as is with human nature, took it for granted,” said Venita, Gerecke’s wife. “Our last encounter was a kiss, an 'I love you' and my wishing him a fun night.”