Victim's family reacts to teen's arrest in fatal Clifton shooting

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A 16-year-old Clifton teenager, Kenneth Cates, has turned himself into the Mesa County Sheriff's Office after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He's wanted in connection to the death of 16-year-old Troy Martinez, also of Clifton.

Cates is being charged with reckless manslaughter, tampering with evidence, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and false reporting to authorities. He's being held in the Youth Detention Facility without bond.

On Sept. 1, Martinez was shot to death at Cate's house on Susan Street in Clifton. The details have been kept under wraps until now.

The affidavit states that Cates had called 911 in hysterics that afternoon. He told deputies that the two were taking apart a gun.
Cates said it somehow went off in his hands, striking Martinez and killing him.

However, the report goes on to say how Cates changed the story, about the gun he found in his grandmother's garage.

Cates later admitted that he loaded the pistol and shot it into his bedroom floor several times until he thought it was empty, as Martinez looked on. Cates said he aimed the gun at the boy he called his best friend, and pulled the trigger.

The report reads, "I (investigator) asked why he pointed the gun at Troy when he pulled the trigger. Kenny lowered his head and said, 'I don't know.'"

Deputies found Martinez shot in the face in front of the home, after he took his last steps. Cates is being charged as a juvenile, a decision Martinez's family sorely regrets.

"Our child's life is lost and I think that he should be in jail a lot longer than two years, if that's what ends up happening," says Troy's sister-in-law, Kelly Martinez.

"I think that anybody capable of doing that, there's so big issues there. They need to be dealt with. I don't think a slap on the wrist is a solution," says Troy's brother, Chris.

Cates is expected to appear in court Monday.

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