At first, police officers thought they were responding to a fatality involving a teenager who had been struck by a train. But when they arrived on the scene, they found a deceased teenager beside the railroad tracks who was killed not by a passing locomotive, but by an assailant's bullets.
The victim was just 14 years-old, police said. The suspect who was arrested for the killing was also 14 years-old.
The tragedy unfolded in the Solano County community of Fairfield over the weekend, south of Sacramento and north of San Francisco. The incident stunned local residents who said homicide victims are becoming younger and younger in the county.
"On July 25th, at approximately 2:30am, Fairfield Police received a call regarding a potentially fatal collision involving a train and pedestrian," police stated in a community bulletin. "The caller directed police personnel to the railroad tracks to the rear of State Street in Fairfield where officers found the body of a male. Officers determined no collision had occurred and the victim had actually sustained gunshot wounds to his body. He was pronounced deceased at the scene."
"The victim has been identified as a 14-year-old local resident," investigators also stated. "Out of respect for the family’s wishes we will not be releasing the name of the victim. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends as they grieve his loss. The Fairfield Police Department’s Investigations Bureau responded and took over the incident. Following evidence from their investigation, a 14-year-old male has been taken into custody and booked into the Solano County Juvenile Hall. He was arrested for murder and other weapons related offenses."
Because the suspect is a minor, his name will not be released. A motive for the homicide was not released.
"There is no threat to the public, this does not appear to be a random act of violence, and there is no known gang aspect to the crime," police stated. "This is still an active investigation and no further information can be released at this time. If you have information about what happened, please contact our Investigations Bureau at (707) 428-7600."
Fairfield community members reacted with sadness and shock, particularly because the victim and suspect are so young.
"So many teens seem to be dying in Solano County," one local wrote. "There was a 15-year-old who was killed also in Vallejo by gunshot will not too long ago. Just awful."
"So young!!!" another added. "I hope they find out exactly why he was out and about that late. I wonder if the city still has the curfew in play for kids under the age of 18? Praying for the family and friends of the young person."
"What a horrible thing for all involved," another commented. "It doesn’t matter why he was anywhere at anytime. It’s sad that life is lost. No shoulda coulda wouldas. Just a heavy heart and prayers for the family and friends. Please stop saying what should have happened or who should have done what. A family lost a young man. Have some respect."