Father of Abel Elias Acosta Unaware Teen Had Gun on Night He Allegedly Killed 3: Lawyer

A lawyer for Richard Acosta, the father of a 14-year-old wanted in a triple homicide at a convenience store gas station in Garland, Texas, said he was unaware his son had a gun with him the night of the incident.

Richard Acosta's son, Abel Elias Acosta, is accused of fatally shooting three teens and injuring a fourth on December 26 and has been on the run ever since.

Richard Acosta Jr., 33, is charged with capital murder after allegedly being the getaway driver for his son, police said in a statement.

Heather Harris, Richard's attorney, told the Dallas Morning News that evidence will show he didn't know his son "was going to do what he did."

According to police, security footage shows a shirtless man or boy walking up to the store hunched over holding a handgun. He then swings open the door and fires from the doorway, killing three teenagers and injuring a fourth.

Harris said Abel was hysterical when he went back to his father in the pickup truck and, after he got in the truck, Richard drove them home. As soon as they arrived at home, Abel got into a different vehicle and fled, Harris said.

Lieutenant Pedro Barineau said investigators believe the shooting was a revenge attack against someone or multiple people in the gas station store.

Abel is described as Hispanic with light skin, dark hair and brown eyes. He is about 5-foot-5 and about 125 pounds.

Police say Abel is at large and is considered armed and dangerous.

Richard Acosta Jr Arrested
This undated photo released by the Garland Police Department, shows Richard Acosta Jr., 33, a resident of Garland, Texas, who was arrested and charged with capital murder, accused of being the getaway driver in a shooting that killed three teens on December 26, 2021, at a gas station convenience store in the suburb northeast of Dallas. His son, Abel, who is not in custody, is the accused shooter. Garland Police Department/AP Photo

Richard Acosta, who surrendered to police a day after the shooting, remained in Dallas County jail on Tuesday on $3 million bond.

Police said the shooter fired more than 20 rounds from a .40-caliber pistol before fleeing in the Dodge Ram driven by Acosta, whom they said also brought the shooter to the gas station.

Harris said he thinks evidence will show that Acosta initially went into the store alone to pick up medicine for his wife and that after he got back into his pickup, his son said he needed something and went inside alone. Harris said the father heard gunfire but didn't know the source.

"Our position is he didn't do anything to solicit or encourage his son to do this," Harris said.

Police named those killed in the shooting as 14-year-old Xavier Gonzalez, 16-year-old Ivan Noyala and 17-year-old Rafael Garcia. A 15-year-old who was a cook at the store was taken to a hospital following the shooting and is expected to survive.

Police initially took a different 14-year-old boy into custody, saying he was the shooting suspect. They released him to his family the next day and said he was not being charged.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.