ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- An Odessa teen is behind bars after investigators said he allegedly shot another teen outside Music City Mall late last month. John Elijah Sanchez, 18, has been charged with Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon as well as Theft of a Firearm and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

The investigation began on September 24 when investigators with the Odessa Police Department were called to the parking lot of Burlington Coat Factory after witnesses called 911 and said a fourteen-year-old boy, who has not been identified, had been shot. According to an affidavit, when officers arrived on the scene, they found a young victim who had been shot in his abdomen- that teen was taken to Medical Center Hospital for treatment. Officers also found four spent shell casings outside the store near the victim.

Several witnesses, including the victim’s sibling, met investigators at the scene and said three suspects left the mall in a grey Mazda prior to OPD’s arrival. While some officers met with the witnesses, others went to review surveillance video from inside and outside of the mall. 

An affidavit stated that three suspects were caught on camera confronting the victim inside the mall. The group then exited the mall and headed in the direction of Burlington Coat Factory. Video from outside the mall showed a fight between the victim and the three suspects followed by the sound of gunshots; the three suspects were then caught on camera entering the Mazda and driving away. 

The witnesses left behind at the scene said the driver of the Mazda, later identified as Sanchez, and one other person were responsible for the shooting. That suspect has not yet been identified and it is unclear if that suspect will face charges at a later date. 

Investigators said they identified Sanchez as a possible suspect because of previous run-ins with the law. They stated Sanchez owns a grey Mazda and had been seen before wearing clothes similar to one of the suspects who was caught on camera. 

On September 30, armed with an arrest warrant, OPD officers went to look for Sanchez at his apartment on N Dixie Boulevard. There, they found Sanchez sitting in the driver’s seat of the Mazda that was seen leaving the scene of the shooting. 

While searching Sanchez, investigators discovered a handgun that had been previously been reported stolen during a vehicle break-in. Investigators also found various shell casings along with live ammunition and a vape pen containing THC in Sanchez’s car. 

Sanchez was arrested and taken to the Ector County Detention Center where he remained as of Monday afternoon. His bond has been set at a combined $65,000.