Professional boxer John Duane VanMeter, 24, was shot in his Uvalde, Texas, home Wednesday night

By Karen Mizoguchi
January 24, 2019 05:20 PM
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John VanMeter/Facebook

A 12-year-old boy has been charged with capital murder in Texas in connection with the shooting death of a professional boxer.

The victim, 24-year-old John Duane VanMeter, was shot in his home Wednesday night, according to a statement from the Uvalde Police Department.

VanMeter’s girlfriend called 911 saying someone broke into his residence and shot him, authorities said. When officers arrived, VanMeter was found lying in the living room with a gunshot wound to the head.

The couple heard someone trying to kick in their door before VanMeter went to see what was going on, as reported by the Uvalde-Leader News. His girlfriend was in the bedroom when she heard a gunshot.

The young boxer, who was nicknamed “The California Kid,” was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses told authorities that a male dressed in all black with a black bandana over his face was seen running from the home where VanMeter was shot.

John VanMeter
John VanMeter/Facebook

VanMeter had been boxing since he was 10 and had been boxing professionally since 2015, according to the Leader-News.

The local Ortiz Boxing Gym mourned VanMeter’s death on Facebook.

“We are at a loss for words. It’s a sad sad night, not just for Tree City Boxing, but for our entire community. Please keep the VanMeters in your prayers,” the gym wrote along with a photo of VanMeter.

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“[Our] deepest condolences go out to the Vanmeter family we lost not only a great boxer but also a great friend always willing to help out upcoming fighters Rest Easy Champ,” the gym said in another post along with a video of VanMeter training with a fellow boxer.

The suspect is being held at a juvenile detention facility. It is unclear if he has retained a lawyer who can comment on his behalf.

Under Texas law, children under the age of 14 cannot be tried as adults for first-degree felonies.