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Ted Martin observes a shrine for JJ Clavo outside the football stadium at Grant High School on Nov.15. Clavo, 17, who played for the Pacers football team was shot and killed on Nov. 13. (OBSERVER photo by Antonio R. Harvey)

DEL PASO HEIGHTS – A local 16-year-old with apparent gang ties is being charged with the murder of 17-year-old Grant High football player Jaulon “J.J.” Clavo, according to police.

Police Chief Samuel Somers, Jr. says Keymontae Lindsey was formally arrested in the murder on Thursday, but has been in police custody since the day following the November 13 shooting in Del Paso Heights. Lindsey was arrested when a November 14traffic stop found him to be in possession of a loaded weapon. It took some time, but that weapon, Chief Somers announced, has now been linked forensically to the Clavo shooting.

“There will be four charges. Homicide, attempted homicide, shooting into a vehicle that was occupied and a gang enhancement,” Chief Somers stated.

On Nov. 13, Clavo and four other Grant High players went off campus to enjoy a meal before their championship game. Clavo was driving back to the school for a pregame meeting. While at a stop sign at Silver Eagle Road and Mable Street, a suspect approached the passenger side of the car and fired several rounds into the car. Clavo and another friend were hit.

“This was a tragedy that shook our community to the core,” shared Mayor Kevin Johnson, who also spoke at the student athlete’s funeral, urging the community to stand up and help find his killer.

“J.J. was everything we want our children to be,” Mayor Johnson added. “It’s hard to sit here as the mayor and say this will not happen again. (This) will stay in our minds and hopefully guide us to a greater good.”

Both Mayor Johnson and Chief Somers pointed to how the community has come together surrounding Clavo’s death. There have been vigils, community discussions on ending neighborhood violence and reward money donated to encourage anyone with information to come forward. A billboard listing the reward was also erected in the area of the shooting.

Clavo’s mother, Dr. Nicole Clavo, also spoke at this week’s press conference, thanking the community for its support as she grieved the loss of her son and sought answers.

Dr. Clavo said she had mixed emotions about news of an arrest in the case.

“I don’t know if I’m happy, if I’m sad.. I don’t feel like I’m the only one affected by this today,” shared a stoic Dr. Clavo, who said she’d keep the suspect’s family in prayer along with her own.

She also hopes to work in the community to stop violence and “change the culture of ‘don’t tell’ and “no snitching.”

“We have to be the voice for those who are no longer here. We have to come together and become that village once again,” Dr. Clavo said.

While Chief Somers would not speak on a possible motive, he did state several times that “I can say unequivocally that JJ Clavo was not the target.” He added that more information would emerge as the case is prosecuted.

The department, he says, has been in discussion with the District Attorney’s office and Lindsey will be tried as an adult.