To workers at a McDonald’s in Lubbock, Texas, the noise that came ringing over the drive-thru speaker Thursday night sounded like a loud pop.
When the employee who heard the pop went outside to investigate, though, it became clear that what sounded like a pop was actually gunfire, KCBD reports. And that gunfire had killed a 12-year-old boy named Damien Cortez, police said.
Six people — a couple and four children — were in the car going through the drive-thru that night, including the boy’s teenage brother, according to police. The brother had a gun with him in the car, police said. Eventually the gun came out and was fired, hitting and killing Damien.
Damien was pronounced dead around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Preliminary information suggests the shooting was an accident, police said.
“Damien was a very bright child,” Elsa Montes, the principal at Hodges Elementary School, which Damien attended last year, told KCBD. “He was the spelling bee champion at Hodges last year.”
Police are still working to determine where the gun came from and who in the car pulled the gun’s trigger, authorities said in a news release Friday morning. They’re also working to determine who was aware that the teen had the gun with him.
Police added that everyone involved in the incident has been cooperating with police.
Those inside the McDonald’s restaurant during and after the shooting were held there for more than an hour, until 8 p.m., KCBD reports.
The spelling bee champion was a big fan of AJ Ramos, a pitcher for the New York Mets, and Damien got to meet Ramos through a Lubbock school district employee, the district said in a statement to KLBK.
A prayer vigil will be held for Damien at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9 in Lubbock, KCBD reports.