A memorial with names and flowers is left at the site where two teenagers were fatally shot Saturday, March 12, in a residential neighborhood in Watauga.
A shooting that killed two teenage boys in a suburban Tarrant County neighborhood on Saturday afternoon has left residents caught off-guard and confused as they struggle to understand what brought the teens to the area and how it resulted in their deaths.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday identified one of the teens killed in the shooting in Watauga as 17-year-old Johnny Rojas, of Fort Worth. Rojas’ death was ruled a homicide caused by gunshot wounds. The medical examiner has not yet identified the second boy, but a memorial at the scene of the shooting had the name “Klodian” written in blue chalk alongside “Johnny.”
The victims were shot while sitting in a pickup truck parked on the street in the 5400 block of Caribou Ridge Drive, according to Watauga police, who are investigating the double homicide.
Patrick Symons, who has lived in the area for about five years, said he and his wife were getting ready to attend his sister’s wedding Saturday around 2 p.m. when his dogs began “going ballistic,” thinking someone was banging on their front door, just yards away from where the shooting occurred.
“There was a black sedan driving off. … It was a car we weren’t familiar with, and at first I was worried that it was my neighbor across the street, his kids, but it wasn’t because I know what they drive, but I was worried that somehow they got a ride or something,” Symons said. “There was like a black Chevy truck with its passenger doors opened and you could kind of see someone slumped down on the side and the car driving off.”
Symons had just gotten out of the shower when the shooting occurred. After seeing what happened outside, he registered that shots were fired and he urged his wife to get back inside their home and call the police.
“I don’t think it was a slow response, but one of those things where it was like seconds feel a lot longer when you’re waiting [for the police] to show up,” Symons said. “We found out the next day it was two kids who go to the high school over here, and they’re not from the neighborhood, they just stopped here.”
Neighbors said the victims were students in the Keller school district.
Levi Blackman, another neighbor who’s lived in the area for two years, was out of town during the shooting. He was made aware of the incident when his Ring camera notified him of movement in his front yard, which sits directly parallel to where the shooting occurred.
Upon checking the cameras, he saw the movement was police officers, investigating the scene and setting up crime-scene tape. His camera was unable to capture any footage of the shooting thanks to being blocked by a pillar.
“Nothing like that has ever happened around here,” Blackman said. “I have a 1-year-old daughter. I’m just kind of glad we weren’t here for the gunshots. That’s a little too close for comfort.”
Details regarding what may have led up to the shooting have not been released by the police department as the investigation remains ongoing. No arrests or suspect descriptions have been announced as of Tuesday.
A memorial for the boys was held over the weekend by family members and friends, Symons and Blackman said. On Monday, flowers, and the boys’ names etched in chalk, decorated the edge of the road at the scene.
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Jessika Harkay is a breaking news reporter for the Star-Telegram. Jessika is a Baylor graduate who joined the Fort Worth team in 2021 after working as a breaking news reporter at the Hartford Courant and interning at the New York Daily News.