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Father of teen accused of killing 3 at Garland convenience store found guilty of murder

Xavier Gonzalez.
Pablo Arauz Peña
Garland police say Xavier Gonzalez, 14, was at the wrong place at the wrong time when a shooter opened fire in a Garland convenient store.

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for info leading to Abel Acosta's whereabouts following guilty verdict for father Richard Abel Jr.

The father of a teen who fatally shot three other teens in a Garland convenience store was found guilty of capital murder Friday.

Richard Acosta's attorney Heath Harris told KERA that he's hopeful that he can appeal if Abel is found and admits that his father did not know his son had a gun or committed the murders.

"We firmly believe that [Abel] is going to tell the authorities that, and if they do, then maybe Richard will get a new trial," Harris said.

Police in Garland sent out a statement Friday evening thanking District Attorney John Creuzot for prosecuting the case and announcing a $10,000 total reward for info leading to Abel's whereabouts.

"The search continues. We will not stop until Abel Acosta is captured," read the statement.

Richard Acosta was on trial for his involvement in the fatal shooting that killed Xavier Gonzalez, Ivan Noyala and Rafael Garcia that night.

The boys were 14, 16 and 17. A fourth victim was critically injured but survived the shooting.

Video evidence shows Acosta’s pick-up truck fleeing the scene after prosecutors say his son Abel fired several shots into the convenience store on Sunday Dec. 26, 2021. Richard Acosta turned himself in the following Monday, where he was charged.

Vigil for Garland shooting victims
Pablo Arauz Peña
Family, friends and classmates of Xavier Gonzalez held a candlelight vigil for the victims of a shooting that left three teens dead at a gas station in Garland.

During the trial, which began Monday, Acosta testified under oath and said that he didn't know his son had a gun.

Defense attorneys claimed Acosta didn't know Abel fired the shots and that he was trying to get his son away from danger.

"I was scared for his safety and mine," Acosta said.

Acosta said his son disappeared after going upstairs when they arrived home.

Prosecutors led by Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot set out to prove to the jury that Acosta helped his son escape the scene after committing the fatal shooting.

"Any reasonable person would have called 911. What does he do? He puts the pedal to the metal," Creuzot said during closing arguments Friday.

Prosecutors also said he exchanged texts and a phone call with a man named Sidney Williams, whom Acosta hoped would help him and his family relocate following the crime.

Judge Stephanie Huff read the jury's guilty verdict Friday afternoon after about four hours of deliberation.

Acosta faces life in prison without parole.

Following the verdict, families of the victims made their statements.

Xavier Gonzalez's sister Rubi said she watched Acosta feign ignorance to his son's actions during the trial.

"We went through many milestones without him and we're going to have to go through so many more," Gonzalez said. "Today was only half the justice that he deserved."

Abel Acosta is still wanted by police.

Got a tip? Email Pablo Arauz Peña at

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the Growth and Infrastructure Reporter for KERA News.