Family of teen killed while selling an Xbox ‘devastated’ – KSDK.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Candles burned at a memorial site created for a 16-year-old boy who was killed Sunday while trying to sell his Xbox.
Miguel Navarro thought he had arranged to sell an Xbox gaming console through an online service. He was shot in the back Sunday, and a 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection with his death.
At the memorial Thursday, a framed picture showed a recent photo of Navarro holding a stuffed rhinoceros, alongside a photo of a younger Navarro in a football uniform. A bouquet of bright yellow flowers sat on top of the gravel driveway, surrounded by two teddy bears and a balloon that read, “You’re #1.”
Family friend Carolina Viniegra, 33, stood looking at the site, with her misty eyes cloaked in sunglasses.
She trembled as she explained that she was “like a second mom” to Navarro, a kid she had watched grow up for the last five years. She had become close friends with Navarro’s mother when they became neighbors in Glendale.
“He was such an amazing, sweet boy who was so spontaneous and funny,” said Viniegra. “I can’t believe this senseless act over a video game killed him. I can’t believe it.”
Navarro leaves behind his mother and a younger sister, a little girl who hasn’t quite grasped that “her hero” is gone, Viniegra said. He was the man in the family, always looking out for his loved ones.
He was very respectful and never got into trouble, Viniegra said. Most of Navarro’s time was spent playing video games, she said, letting out a small laugh.
“I would say, ‘Mijo, you’re going to kill your brain cells.’ “
But she said Navarro was a smart kid, and his gaming talent was obvious. He was known in the video-game community as “the Hacker,” Viniegra said.
“The family is absolutely devastated. They’re at a loss for words,” she said.
Viniegra said the last time she spoke to Navarro was last week, on his 16th birthday. She had stopped by to see him and to give him a hug, she said.
“I said ‘Be good. Stay out of trouble, OK?,’ ” Viniegra said.
“I will,” he had replied.
A planned Xbox sale gone wrong
Police and paramedics were called to the house shortly late Sunday afternoon and found a neighbor performing CPR on Navarro, who was bleeding on his driveway. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that night.
According to a neighbor who witnessed the confrontation, a single shooter fled on foot before driving away in a car that was identified as a gold Dodge Durango by multiple surveillance cameras.
A search of Navarro’s phone produced a series of texts between him and an unknown number discussing the sale of an Xbox, according to court documents. The number led investigators to another phone registered with OfferUp belonging to Pedro Claro-Fernandez.
Police staked out a residence connected to Claro-Fernandez and on Tuesday observed a man matching the suspect’s description pulling up in a gold Dodge Durango.
Aaron Ott, 19, of Avondale, Ariz, was being held in a Maricopa County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and armed robbery in Navarro’s death. His bond was set at $1 million.
According to police and court documents, when Claro-Fernandez was brought in for questioning, he told investigators that Ott had asked him to install an app on his phone in order to find a new video-game system. The two discovered Navarro had posted his Xbox for sale on OfferUp, an online site to buy and sell items locally. They set up a time Sunday to meet.
Claro-Fernandez told police he was shocked to hear gunshots while he waited in Ott’s mother’s vehicle, while Ott went to make the exchange. He said he didn’t know Ott was carrying a firearm.
He said Ott told him that he shot Navarro when he refused to give him the Xbox, and according to the police report, he said Ott asked him to hold onto a backpack containing the Xbox because Ott did not want to get caught with it.
When brought in for questioning, Ott told police that while he did not know what happened at the house because he was high on marijuana, he did not shoot Navarro, the report said.
He told police it was all Claro-Fernandez’s idea.
According to the police report, an Xbox, a video game and a gun magazine with .45-caliber ammunition were found at Claro-Fernandez’s residence. The bullets matched a shell casing found on the ground where Navarro lay.
Suspect’s mother disputes police account
Ott’s mother said authorities have wrongly placed blame on her son for Navarro’s death.
“My son is an easy target because he’s just a dumb kid,” said Cheryl Ott. “They think he’s going to be a quick conviction.”
She said police need to take a second look at Claro-Fernandez.
“The plan was so stupid, but it was simple,” she said. “They went over to steal the Xbox, and the agreement was that my son was going to scare (Navarro), asking him for the Xbox, and that Pedro would grab it.”
But the plan went awry, Cheryl Ott said.
“They went about it wrong, obviously because someone died,” she said. “But they’ve got the wrong guy.”
Glendale police did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Thursday.
Cheryl Ott questions why authorities have released Claro-Fernandez, placing the sole blame on her son.
She said Aaron Ott doesn’t know how to shoot a gun because he never has held a gun before.
“My son’s story is short and sweet. He didn’t do it,” Cheryl Ott said.