Mentor reacts to death, arrests in crime involving teen suspects

WICHITA, Kan. A pair of Dec. 28 robberies involved four teenage suspects. The second of those crimes turned deadly when an armed customer at a south Wichita convenience store shot and killed one of the four suspects, a 16-year-old boy.

All four suspects in the crimes were 16 or 17. Monday, police made their second and third arrests in connection with the crimes, making all four suspects accounted for: three arrested and one killed.

Monday, Eyewitness News spoke with a mentor in the community who knew two of the teens involved in the Dec. 28 crimes. That mentor, David Gilkey, says the teens were good kids who made a bad decision.

He calls their actions on Dec. 28 a mistake that cost one of the boys his life.

"I really wish I had a chance to really wrap my arm around these young brothers where both of them would be here today," Gilkey says.

Instead, he's searching for answers.

"Both sides are at a loss," he says of the convenience store robbery that turned deadly. "I wish I had a chance to really mentor one or both of these young men to the fullest."

The 16-year-old boy shot and killed at the B & H Fast Trips store on South Seneca, was one of the boys Gilkey knew. Police say that boy had a gun when the armed customer shot him. The teen later died from his injuries.

"He wasn't the type of kid you had to say, 'If you don't get your life together, this, this or this is going to happen to you,'" Gilkey says. "I never had to have that conversation with him. It was always, 'Keep doing what you're doing and you can go as far as your life can take you.'"

Gilkey says nothing in his interactions with the teens led him to believe they would commit crimes in which they're accused of being involved.

"Man, I wish I could've saved those young men's lives, I really do," he says. "And sometimes I sit back and it breaks my heart because I know, man, I know I could've helped them."

At this point, no one faces charges with the death of the 16-year-old boy. The Sedgwick County district attorney will ultimately determine whether or not to bring charges.