A 17-year-old faces charges in connection with the suicide of his 14-year-old friend last week, McKinney police said Monday.
Jordan Sharifi, 17, was arrested Friday on charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, theft of a firearm and making a firearm accessible to a child.
Police said Sharifi stole a loaded gun from the family with whom he was staying and gave it to his friend, 14-year-old Raymond Howell.
Police said Howell used that gun to kill himself. He was found in a ditch near Eldorado Parkway and South Stonebridge Drive April 2.
In newly obtained court documents, investigators said Sharifi admitted to police he not only stole the gun but when he found Howell, he threw the gun in a tunnel.
Police believe Howell may have been a victim of bullying. Sharifi told police in court documents Howell had been in a couple of fights and that he gave Howell the gun for protection.
An arrest affidavit said Sharifi "...admitted he became afraid when he learned Raymond used the weapon he stole to kill himself, so he tried to get rid of the weapon by throwing it into the tunnel."
“My heart goes out to his parents,” said Robert Rodriguez, a concerned father. “When it happened, my first thought was it could just as easily be my daughters. It could just as easily be either of them. The older they get, the more fear I live with as a dad.”
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His daughter, Izzy Rodriguez, was friends with Howell, and she even discovered a selfie Howell took on her phone days before his death.
"He was happy. If he knew you were having a bad day, he’d be like, 'Hey man, come over here. Come talk to me,'" remembered friend Izzy Rodriguez.
Police said the investigation into Howell's death is complete, and no other charges or arrests are expected.
An anti-bullying rally is scheduled for Thursday outside McKinney Boyd High School starting at 10 a.m. Parents said they hope the rally starts a conversation with the school that will put an end to bullying.
In a statement released Monday, Howell's family said:
"We want to thank our friends, family and the public for the outpouring of support that we have received regarding the loss of our son and brother, Raymond “Junior” Howell. Even at the tender age of 14, Raymond lived a life of love, strong values and integrity that some people never fully experience. As a family, we ask that you give us the peace, privacy and time that we need to grieve and move through this tragedy. Our hope is that it one day allows for a truly meaningful conversation … and more importantly real change for the way we treat others in our schools and throughout our communities."
Collin County jail records show Sharifi was being held Tuesday on $300,000 bond. The records didn't list an attorney who could be contacted to comment on the charges.