Was bullet meant for Van Meter?

Victim’s father questions motive

Kimberly Rubio

Assistant editor

Two hours before he was shot and killed in the doorway of his home, John Duane Van Meter conversed with his father as the elder Van Meter chopped wood for his son’s cookout. It was a chore he insisted on doing to prevent an accidental injury to the professional boxer, who was due to fight this month.

“He said, ‘Dad, that is enough.’ But I told him I might as well chop all of it while I was at his house,” Van Meter said. “We joked, he laughed, then I jumped back in my truck and drove away.”

Then, just after 8 p.m., the father of four noticed he had two missed calls from his oldest son’s girlfriend, Sammy Chapa.

“When I called her back, she said someone had shot my son in the head,” John J. Van Meter recalled.

Now, as the 12-year-old Flores Elementary School student accused of shooting the young boxer faces up to 40 years incarceration, Van Meter said he is left with unanswered questions, including whether the bullet was meant for his son, a 24-year-old father.


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