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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — He was the adorable child shown in Kendall Toyota commercials for years but now we’re finding out he may have been dealing more than cars.
Authorities suspect that the now 17-year-old Michael Gonzalez got into the business of selling drugs, according to CBS4 News Partner The Miami Herald.
The teen, according to court documents that call Gonzalez by his initials, was the dealer robbed outside of an Aventura LA Fitness on January 19th – a situation that turned deadly for his friend, who died from a gunshot wound to the neck, according to law enforcement. The teen shot dead was 18 year old Omar Darwish.
Gonzalez remains the unnamed victim in the case against two teens who were arrested and charged in the murder of Darwish.
Gonzalez’s identity has been confirmed independently by the Herald and through the slain teen’s family.
Gonzalez has not been charged with anything in connection to the case but because the drug deal was involved in the deadly incident, he remains under investigation.
Arrest warrants for the two suspects charged with felony murder list multiple, unnamed teen witnesses who put Gonzalez, referred to as M.G. in the warrants, as being at the murder scene, as having arranged to buy and sell marijuana oil to buyers in the Aventura parking lot, and having placed the drugs on his dead or dying friend’s body in an apparent effort to deflect attention from himself as being the drug dealer.
The dead teen’s father described his son as an involved, active boy, well known at School. The victim’s father said he learned from police what court documents claim: That Gonzalez planted the dope on his son’s body after the shooting.
“I gave him pocket money when he left. I knew he had nothing to do with the business Mike (Gonzalez) was doing,” Tammer Darwish said on Tuesday.
Gonzalez’s father, Claudio Gonzalez, was the former face of Kendall Toyota and West Kendall Toyota and appeared in various ads along with his son. He formed his own advertising and media production company which later contracted with Bean Automotive Group which runs three Toyota dealerships.
Bean stopped working with Claudio Gonzalez on March 1st, “separate from and before we had any knowledge of the current situation with Michael,” a company spokesperson said.
“We are heartbroken by this unfortunate tragedy and our thoughts are with the Darwish family and others impacted,” said Bean Automotive in a statement released Tuesday.
As for the investigation, Claudio Gonzalez to the Herald his family is cooperating with authorities and said he felt bad for what happened to the other kids.
Michael Gonzalez’s lawyer, Mario Machado, stressed his client had not been arrested or charged or even named in the case.
(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)