Hundreds gather in honor of murdered New Braunfels teen

Conrad Kuntz, 17, was shot and killed on Saturday, June 17, 2017 in New Braunfels. (KXAN Photo)
Conrad Kuntz, 17, was shot and killed on Saturday, June 17, 2017 in New Braunfels. (KXAN Photo)

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (KXAN) — Wednesday night, hundreds of community members gathered to remember 17-year-old Conrad Kuntz who was killed in New Braunfels over the weekend. They met at the Tube Chute Park where Kuntz worked as a lifeguard for two summers.

His loved ones planted a tree and released balloons in his memory. Community members all wore orange, Kuntz’s favorite color, and remembered him as an excellent swimmer, a dedicated lifeguard and an active member of his community.

“He was a day brightener, he always smiled, He never put anyone down,” said friend Zachary Rodeffer. The two swam together at school and life guarded together at the park. “He was a great swimmer, me and him were racing buddies. We always competed to see if we could beat each other.”

Rodeffer said he had worked with Kuntz at the park the day he was shot and couldn’t believe the news when he got the call.

“I broke down on my way driving home, and now when I think about it I just feel sorry for his family and for his friends that knew him very well,” Rodeffer said.

He added that Kuntz had his heart set on breaking the school record in the 50 yard freestyle. Rodeffer said he’d now like to try and break that record to honor Kuntz.

Friends and family members tell KXAN that Kuntz was a decorated swimmer, swimming for three years on varsity.

The memorial happened on the same day that an additional juvenile had been arrested and charged with Kuntz’s murder.

Community members release balloons to honor the memory of Conrad Kuntz. KXAN Photo Juan Salinas.
Community members release balloons to honor the memory of Conrad Kuntz. KXAN Photo Juan Salinas.

Police say, on Wednesday, they arrested a 16-year-old boy at his New Braunfels home. Because he is underage, his name will not be released. The 16-year-old suspect joins a 15-year-old Marion boy who was arrested the day after Kuntz’s death. Police have not released details as to what might have led up to the shooting but say the suspects and victim were acquaintances.

On Saturday, just after 10 p.m., police responded to shots being fired in the 1500 block of Lahn Road. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Kuntz, who ultimately died from his gunshot wound.

A neighbor told KXAN when he heard the gunshots, he looked outside and saw a “boy standing right over him [Kuntz] with a flashlight looking on his face.” As the neighbor tried to help Kuntz, he said the boy with the flashlight just left the scene.

This was New Braunfels’ first homicide of the year. Both juvenile suspects are currently in the Guadalupe County Juvenile Detention Center.

New Braunfels Police are still actively investigating this case.

Crime Stoppers are offering a $2,000 reward and ask that anyone with information about the incident call Crime Stoppers at 830-620-TIPS (8477.).

Kuntz’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday.

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