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21-year-old shot, killed by masked gunmen during break-in, Dallas police say

The victim had been armed, police said.
Credit: WFAA

A 21-year-old man was shot and killed during a break-in early Sunday in the Red Bird neighborhood, Dallas police said. 

David Jeremiah Damato was killed after multiple masked gunmen broke into his second-floor apartment shortly before 6:30 a.m., according to two arrest warrants.

Josiah Salinas, 19, Damarte Burt, 21, and two minors were each arrested on a charge of capital murder in connection to the killing, police said.

Salinas and one of the minors had initially broken into the apartment through a balcony door, according to the affidavits.

Damato and a witness were in a bedroom at the time and heard the glass break in the living room, both warrants state. Damato armed himself with a .40-caliber Glock in response.

Credit: WFAA
The door to the second-floor balcony several suspects used to allegedly break into David Damato's apartment on Feb. 9, 2020 appeared visibly broken.

When one of the suspects then confronted Damato in the apartment's bedroom, Damato fired several rounds at that suspect, who police officials said they would not identify because the suspect is a minor.

The suspect was shot in the torso by Damato, which is when Salinas entered the bedroom armed with a "9mm HighPoint rifle," the warrants state. 

Salinas allegedly then shot at Damato, hitting him in the head and torso and killing him, police said.

Credit: WFAA
A police officer stands on the balcony the suspects used to allegedly break into David Damato's apartment before one of them shot and killed him on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, according to police.

Police claim that's when Burt and the other minor entered the apartment while wearing masks. All four of them stole cash, jewelry and shoes from the apartment, according to the warrants. Salinas also allegedly stole Damato's gun. 

The suspects then took the minor who had been shot to a local hospital for his injury, where they were detained by police, according to the affidavits. 

He was admitted to the hospital for his injury, while the three others were taken to Dallas police headquarters to be interviewed, police records show. 

Burt and Salinas both gave police "detailed confessions," according to the arrest warrants for each of them. 

Credit: Dallas County
Mugshot of Damarte Burt

Burt told investigators that they went to the apartment because Salinas wanted to get "something" from Damato, per the warrant for his arrest. 

Credit: Dallas County
Mugshot of Josiah Salinas

Salinas said they went to rob Damato because he knew Damato and knew he had cash and jewelry at the apartment, police records say. 

All four men had been wearing masks at the time, Salinas said. He was wearing a white mask with teeth, while Burt told investigators he had worn a gorilla mask during the incident. 

But, Burt said he hadn't left the car during the break-in and didn't go into the apartment. Salinas' interview contradicted that-- he told investigators Burt had gone into the apartment as well, the warrants say. 

Burt told them Salinas and another suspect had a shotgun and a "machine gun" with them at the time. Salinas admitted to shooting and killing Damato during his interview, the affidavits say.

Salinas is currently being held at the Dallas County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

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