Adrien Wallace, the boy's 41-year-old uncle, has confessed to killing Nicolas Juarez, a 16-year-old St. Francis High School student, along with 71-year-old Saundra Wallace — the teen's grandmother and suspect's mother — with a hunting rifle on the evening of June 4.
"The motive is unclear at this point," said Sgt. Adam Phillips, public information officer for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
Although Juarez had only just begun his summer vacation, "he was probably more excited than most kids I know about starting the next school year," said Danna Mitchell Carter. "It's a tragedy," said Carter, the band director at St. Francis, the private Catholic high school in Mountain View where the 16-year-old had just finished his sophomore year.
Juarez was excited because he had been named drum captain of the school band, a role he was set to take over with the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, Carter explained. The teen was heavily involved with music at the high school. In addition to his role in the school band, he was also set to be a section leader in the St. Francis symphonic band and the lead drummer of the school's jazz band.
Carter described Juarez as a great kid, who was earning high marks — a leader with many friends at the school.
"One of the hardest things for me, was that Nick was so looking forward to next year," she said. "This was his year. I am most disappointed that he won't be able to experience that."
After Carter got the word from school officials about the tragedy, she called most of Juarez's friends and peers in the school band. She said she didn't want them to find out through Facebook or the media.
"They were devastated," Carter said, adding that most couldn't believe the news at first. "We had just talked to Nick. He was sending texts and emails" to Carter and other friends back home while he was up in Oregon visiting with his grandmother and touring universities in the area. "He was having a good time, and then, literally, two days later, he's not with us anymore. They were shocked."
In addition to being involved with music, Juarez was an avid soccer player and was on the school's soccer team, the Lancers.
"Nick was a bright and talented young man with a huge heart," said Patricia Tennant, principal of St. Francis. "He was a very special part of our Saint Francis family, and his loss is being felt by our students, parents, faculty, staff and administration. We are grieving with the Juarez family during this dark time, and we will continue to pray for them."
According to Phillips, the Clackamas County sheriff's department received multiple 911 calls at about 6:17 p.m. on June 4. Callers reported hearing a number of shots fired.
Officers found the bodies of Juarez and the elder Wallace in the driveway of the home where the alleged gunman reportedly lived with his mother.
A June 5 story on The Oregonian's website reports that the boy had just spent a "special week" with his grandmother traveling to various sites around Seattle, and that the two were planning to come to California when tragedy struck the night before they were set to leave the home.
Wallace, the shooter, was standing in the driveway of the house, located about 13 miles south of Portland, and was on the phone with 911 dispatchers when officers arrived at the scene and was taken into custody "without incident," Phillips said. Wallace appeared in court June 5 and is scheduled to appear again on Friday, according to The Oregonian.
"I think people are shocked," Phillips said of the community's reaction to the incident. "It's difficult, regardless of who you are."
Juarez's parents could not be reached by phone before the Voice went to press on Wednesday, but they released a statement.
"Nick was the light of all of our lives: a young man of strong faith who loved life and his family. Nick was deeply loved by his parents, Martin and Tamara Juarez, his younger sister Sonia, and his entire extended family, schoolmates, band mates and fellow soccer players," the family said. "Sue Wallace was a beloved mother and grandmother who doted on her grandchildren whom she loved spending all of her spare time with."
Funeral services are pending, according to a St. Francis official who is handling media inquiries for the family. The school band is planning to be a part of the private memorial service.