Court docs: Man heard gunshots so he opened fire, killing 15-year-old in Guadalupe

Deputies say David Anthony Thomas under the influence when he began firing.
Deputies say David Anthony Thomas under the influence when he began firing.(Courtesy of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:40 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:44 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Tuesday for the apparent shooting death of a 15-year-old teen in Guadalupe last month. Court documents show that during an interview with detectives, 23-year-old David Anthony Thomas said he was at a friend’s house on Aug. 15, hanging out in the front yard with four other people. He heard gunshots across the street so he fired his handgun multiple times, MCSO said. Thomas said he feared for his life and did not see anyone across the way before he began shooting in the direction of Avenida Del Yaqui near East Calle Magdalena, but did add that he thought he saw someone with a red shirt. Thomas was under the influence during the incident, according to court records.

Deputies were nearby when they heard the gunfire and responded to the area where they found 15-year-old Elias Longeria shot in the head. Paramedics arrived but he died at the scene.

Thomas ran once his friend, who witnessed the shooting, took away the gun, according to court records, and gave it to his father, who was inside the house. Deputies said they later found it wrapped in a shirt on top of a table under a carport.

Deputies say they found almost a dozen 9mm casings that were recently used where Thomas was at, but also found five casings for a different caliber firearm. However, the court documents don’t mention any information about arresting a second shooter. Prior news reported that Elias’ mother, Blanca Longeria, said a fight led to the shooting, but court documents don’t mention her son was fighting with anyone.

Detectives interviewed two teens who were with Elias when he was shot. They said they heard a single gunshot and began running. They then heard several gunshots five seconds later, records show.

Sgt. Hector Encinas with Tempe Police says Elias was a student at Marcos De Niza High School. After the shooting, police said they received several threats toward the school, but the claims were untrue.

Thomas was booked into jail on one count of second-degree murder with a bail amount of $1 million.