KALAMAZOO, Mich. (May 31, 2014) — The mentor of a teenager charged with murdering another teen is speaking out to FOX 17 about how he tried to keep the young man away from the wrong crowd.
15-year-old Victor Garay was arrested and charged with open murder on Thursday.
Kalamazoo investigators said that Garay shot and killed 13-year-old Michael Day outside of his house on Memorial Day.
Garay’s former boxing coach Curtis Isaac said that a school counselor referred Garay to the boxing organization as a way to find structure in his life.
“Victor, he chose to go the wrong way. There are two paths; the right way and the wrong way. Victor chose to go the wrong way,” siad Isaac.
Isaac said when Garay was at the boxing gym, he was respectful and passionate about the sport.
“Victor was a real good student. You know, he learned fast, worked hard you know and developed into a pretty good boxer,” said Isaac.
As time went on, Isaac said it was brought to his attention that Garay had been posting several videos online that showed him in physical altercations.
“There are certain people he started hanging out with and it wasn’t acceptable. He kept continuing doing that and he was asked to leave,” said Isaac.
Isaac said that he was saddened to find out Garay was named as the main suspect in the Memorial Day killing of 13-year-old Michael Day.
Day was shot just after 7 p.m. while on his bicycle near the intersection of Lay Blvd. and Race Street in Kalamazoo’s Edison neighborhood.
“There’s no structure at home with Victor. You know, and it wasn’t his fault. I hope people don’t judge him for this. Victor was a 15-year-old kid. You know, he wasn’t a man. He’s a kid,” said Isaac.
Isaac said that as a mentor to dozens of at risk teens over the past 30 years, parents should be actively involved in their children’s lives and know who their friends are.
“He had two parents, and they were hard working people and that was their kid. That’s their responsibility. You can’t blame that on society. You can’t blame that on his environment,” said Isaac.
Garay remains in the Kalamazoo Juvenile Facility, charged with open murder.
The Kalamazoo County District Attorney’s Office said that it still hasn’t decided on whether to charge Garay as an adult.