Funeral service set for 13 year old killed in shooting

5:56 PM, Jul 26, 2013   |    comments
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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -- The funeral service for 13-year old Steven Diaz is scheduled for Friday at the Mission San Felipe de Jesus at 925 Conley Road.

His mother says she feels peace knowing an arrest has been made in his death.

On Monday, Clayton County Police say Gilberto Gomez and Sergio Alvear, both 18, killed 13-year old Steven Diaz after a failed attempt to steal a truck.

Clayton County Police Maj. Johnny Robinson said Gomez pulled the trigger, while Alvear beat up Diaz' sister's truck and stole her necklace.

The two made their first appearance in magistrate court on Thursday and were denied bond.

Family of both suspects sat in the back of the courtroom, many of them crying.

A woman, identifying herself only as Gomez's girlfriend, described him as a family man and says if the allegations are true, they would be completely out of character. 

Police told 11Alive Gomez admitted to the killing, using a stolen 12 gauge shotgun in the crime. Investigators say the suspects were after the truck's specialized butterfly doors, similar in style to a Lamborghini's.

Both suspects have been charged with murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery. Alvear is also charged with criminal damage, while Gomez faces charges of firearm possession and theft by receiving.

Police said they are still searching for a third suspect. Family members of Gomez and Alvear may also face charges.

Meanwhile, people from across the community are showing support for the family. Tuesday people delivered food, money and other goods to comfort Diaz' family. 

PHOTOS | Remembering Steven Diaz

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The shooting happened at the Bradford Ridge Apartments on Sylvia Drive in unincorporated Forest Park.

Clayton County Police Officer Phong Nguyen said Diaz was helping his sister put air in the tire of her car when the two suspects drove up and demanded keys and belongings.

The suspects stole the sister's necklace and tried to crank her car. When it wouldn't start, they began shooting, Nguyen said.

Diaz was hit in the leg by a bullet and later died at the hospital.

His football coach at Babb Middle School told 11Alive's Jerry Carnes the young man played like a giant.

"He gave his heart," the coach said. "He didn't back down to any challenge in practice, and he didn't back down in the classroom."

Friends say he loved sports, music and dressing up for Halloween. He talked to friends and family about joining the military or becoming a DJ.

Family and friends slowly gathered inside Atlanta Mortuary Service in Hapeville for a visitation on Thursday, still in shock as to why they were there.

His sister is relying on her faith to find comfort.  She believes her little brother has angel wings now.

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Steven Diaz's tragic death inspired 11Alive to dig deeper into metro Atlanta gun crime against teens. We found 20 cases from our archives where teens were harmed. Scroll over the map to track those cases.

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