Prosecutors: Teen blamed death of parents on masked gunman
The teen appeared in court Monday
HOUSTON – A teenager who was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his parents last week blamed the shooting on a masked gunman he said he saw in the house, prosecutors said.
That detail was released Monday morning during the 16-year-old's initial court appearance.
He was charged with murder in the Friday morning shooting deaths of his father, former NFL and Texas A&M player Antonio Armstrong Sr., and his mother, Dawn.
Prosecutors said the teen reported the deaths, telling the 911 operator that he was hiding in a third-floor closet after he heard gunshots coming from his parents’ bedroom. Officers were greeted by him and his 12-year-old sister, who slept through the shootings.
Investigators found the couple shot to death in their bedroom with pillows over their heads, prosecutors said. Police also found a .22-caliber pistol that belonged to the family on the kitchen counter, along with a handwritten note. They would not disclose what was in the note.
Prosecutors said the teenager told police he saw someone wearing a mask in the house at the time of the shooting, but police investigators were unconvinced. There was no sign of a break-in or a struggle.
The teen's attorneys insisted he’s innocent.
"I can tell you that our client adamantly denies committing these offenses," defense attorney Rick DeToto said. "He's very emotional. He's lost his parents. He's 16 years old, and you can imagine being (a) 16-year-old in this situation."
The teen was ordered to be detained by the juvenile judge hearing the case Monday, but prosecutors could ask to have him certified to stand trial as an adult. They may also seek to upgrade the murder charge against him to capital murder.
The teen is being held in a Harris County juvenile detention facility.
According to NFL.com, Antonio Armstrong Sr. played one season for the Miami Dolphins in 1995. Previously, he was an All-American linebacker for Texas A&M.
The elder Armstrong also owned First Class Training and was a pastor at a local church.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help raise money for the family. Click here to donate.