Teen suspect still on the run one year after shooting that killed 3 teens in Garland

It has been one year since a shooting at Garland convenience store killed three teenagers, including a mother's innocent 14-year-old son.

"Me and my family, it's not the same no more. At all," said Lluneli Lopez, the mother of Xavier Gonzalez.

Police say the alleged killer shot four teenagers, killing three and injuring one other.

"There's four families you know that are dealing with tragedy all caused by the actions of Abel Acosta," said Garland police detective Lucas Shupe. 

Police still don't know Acosta's location.

READ MORE: Police release 14-year-old, charge man for Garland gas station murders

"It is my belief that he had help from his family," Shupe said.

His family says they still do not know his location.

"I wish we knew."

Investigators say they are tight-lipped.

"A lot of people are just wondering where he's at."

Abel Acosta is on the run.

"And I just can't believe a 14-year-old boy is hiding. Somebody is helping him out there. His family's helping him out there. Somebody," said Lopez.

Garland police say the then 14-year-old Acosta shot and killed three teenage boys inside a convenience store off West Walnut Street, the day after Christmas in 2021. FOX 4 was there following the murders.

A 15-year-old employee was injured.

17-year-old Rafael Garcia, 16-year-old Ivan Noyala and 14-year-old Xavier Gonzalez were killed. 

Gonzalez was buying tacos for his family.

"So when he got here to the house he told my dad, ‘How about some tacos from the corner?’ And my dad said yeah. And he went for the tacos and didn’t come back," said Lopez.

He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to police.

"He's innocent. Yeah. He had nothing to do with anything that was going on," said Detective Shupe.

Shupe believes Acosta was targeting Garcia and Noyala in retaliation because of a prior disturbance.

READ MORE: Garland shooting: Suspect had prior altercation with victims, police say

"The surveillance footage was key," he said.

Surveillance footage appears to show Acosta firing into the store. The last reported images of Acosta before he vanished.

"It was certainly family members in Garland that helped him get away. Now, who they involved after that, ultimately I would think it would be family," said Shupe. "Obviously that’s not immediate family because we know who that is."

Abel Acosta's father, Richard Acosta, is charged with capital murder because police say he was his son's getaway driver.

Garland police say they believe Richard Acosta knew what he was going to do that night.

READ MORE: Garland shooting: Abel Acosta's father didn't know about shooting, attorney claims

Acosta turned himself in the day after the killings, but he's not talking.

"He did not cooperate because he requested a lawyer and said he did not want to talk to us," said Shupe.

Garland police say Acosta has not given any sort of conversation on the record.

"I would think, this is my opinion, that if you know nothing happened why would you not talk to us and tell us everything that you know?" said Shupe.

Garland police say that other family members are also not cooperating.

"We've questioned them multiple times. We've questioned many family members," said Shupe. "All of them stick with the story of ‘we don’t know where he's at. We don't know anything about it.'"

FOX 4 asked family members what they know, first making a stop at Abel Acosta's mother's home in Garland.

"They're not going to want to talk about that," a man said when we came to the door.

Down the street, where police say Richard Acosta lived before he was taken to jail, a family member says she does not know where the teenager is.

"We're still looking for him," the family member said.

FOX 4 pressed for more answers leading to this exchange.

"The bad people have him," the family member said.

[REPORTER: "Say that again?"]

"The bad people, that's the people that have him."

[REPORTER: "The bad people have him? Who are the bad people?"]

She did not elaborate.

Police are not buying what family members are saying.

Community members are sending in tips, but not the perfect tip.

"Some of those answers, I think what you’re asking, has been ‘He’s in Mexico.’ Okay, well, where in Mexico? Mexico’s a big place." said Shupe. "Unfortunately, none of those people have been able to narrow that down for us."

Garland police say the tips have slowed down.

They need someone with detailed information to come forward.

"There are rewards for that as well," said Shupe.

While authorities search for Abel Acosta, his father's trial is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2023.

"He's trying to act like he didn't know what was going on. He knows for a fact what he did, and he's just taking the fall for it to save his son's life," said Lopez.

Gonzalez's murder wrecked his family.

"We don't have him here. The last time I spent with him was Christmas," Lopez said.

His mother might never have closure.

"And it's not fair. It's not fair how they took his life away." she said.

She wants justice for her baby boy, whose smile she says would light up any room.

"He was a really smart little kid," Lopez said. "He would love sports, he would love horses."

"He always had a smile. Always."

Garland police want to make sure the public is aware that reward money is available for information leading to the arrest and indictment of Abel Acosta. As for his father, Richard Acosta, his attorney, Heath Harris, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.