After South Bend teenager killed in attempted robbery, two more juveniles face charges

A homicide occurred overnight in the 2000 block of Roger Street on Friday, March 18, 2022, in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — Two teenagers are now facing criminal charges in connection with a Roger Street homicide in March that officials say was the result of an attempted robbery.

Terez Parker Jr., 17, was shot and killed by 16-year-old Rafael Diaz-Garcia after Terez and another 15-year-old tried to steal a gun from Rafael, according to recent court documents. Rafael was charged Thursday with possession and delivery of a firearm to a minor, and the other boy allegedly involved is expected to be charged with felony murder in juvenile court, according to the St. Joseph County District Attorney’s Office.

South Bend police were first called to the 2000 block of Roger Street shortly after midnight on March 18, where they found a victim of a gunshot wound.

The victim was later identified as Terez and the teenager was taken to Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Homicide in South Bend:Two teenagers have been charged with murder in the shooting death of a St. Louis prison officer. Joseph County

Detectives spoke with witnesses, court documents say, who told investigators they saw the 15-year-old get into the car once it was parked in front of the home that night. Moments later, a third person wearing a ski mask approached the car, prompting him to fire, the documents state.

Police eventually identified Rafael and the 15-year-old as the people in the car and found “digital evidence” that Therese and the other teenager were planning to steal a gun that Rafael was trying to sell them. The Tribune does not generally name individuals unless they have been charged in adult court.

According to testimony from Rafael and other witnesses, Rafael had previously talked to the 15-year-old about selling him a handgun and had driven to Roger Street that night to make the sale. The 15-year-old got into the passenger seat of Rafael’s car, court documents say, and Rafael gave him the gun to look at.

At that point, the teenager allegedly tried to get the gun and called Terez for help. Terez, who had been hiding behind a parked car nearby, approached Rafael’s car as Rafael and the 15-year-old fought over the gun inside. During the struggle, Rafael was able to pull out a second handgun and fire a shot at Therese, court documents say.

Rafael and the 15-year-old continued to fight over that gun, but Rafael eventually dropped it and ran away, court documents say.

A homicide occurred overnight in the 2000 block of Roger Street Friday in South Bend.

A homicide occurred overnight in the 2000 block of Roger Street Friday in South Bend.

Rafael has not been charged with charges directly related to Terez’s death, but faces two felony counts of dangerous possession of a firearm and furnishing a firearm to an improper person. Rafael is 16, but Indiana law requires that certain crimes, including carrying a gun without a license, be tried in an adult or superior court if committed by someone 16 or older. If convicted, Rafael faces one to 12 years in prison, though the sentence would likely be less severe than that based on Indiana’s sentencing guidelines.

The 15-year-old involved in the alleged robbery is charged with felony murder in juvenile court or on probation, the prosecutor’s office said. After he is initially charged, the state will hold a hearing to refer his case to adult court.

Email Marek Mazurek at Follow him on Twitter: @marek_mazurek

This article originally appeared in the South Bend Tribune: Fatal shooting after attempted robbery leads to felony charges against 2 teenagers

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