UPDATE: (3/20/19) Fugitive David Mays is in police custody. The Metro Nashville Police Department's Juvenile Crime Task Force arrested the 16-year-old at the Cedars at Elm Hill Apartments late Tuesday. Police say he tried to evade officers by hiding in an apartment.
The 16-year-old accused of armed robbery and shooting a man at a busy East Nashville gas station on Wednesday was arrested for two violent robberies last year and serving time at a Department of Children's Services facility when he got a "weekend pass" to leave.
A "weekend pass" is part of the incentive-based rehabilitation program within the juvenile justice system.
David Mays got a weekend pass in February, but he never returned to the North Nashville correctional facility. The youth’s caseworker and the DCS Absconder Unit work together to search for runaways. Law enforcement always is notified and DCS works in cooperation with law enforcement to find the child.
Because Mays is now accused of robbing and shooting a man in the stomach to steal his car, the weekend pass system is receiving criticism, but youth mentor Ron Johnson believes in the incentive-based rehabilitation system.
"I'm sure with some of the things that happen in society, people may be upset with a young person getting a weekend pass, but the facts are that is where we are able to help them heal," Johnson said. "There has to be some things, I'm sure, that was put in place that says if you meet this criteria for these things to happen."
Mays has siblings that are in prison or struggle with mental health. He was living with his aging grandfather in North Nashville when police say he committed the three armed robberies where he would use a gun to coerce someone into giving up their money and car.
The Department of Children's Services said in a statement, "Youth in Juvenile Justice custody can earn home passes if they meet the criteria in place by their treatment program."
Mays had been away for weeks which engendered a major violation and alerted authorities that he was not at "Gateway to Independence" Facility. Per DCS, "If the youth has run away for more than seventy-two (72) hours, a major violation has occurred. The FSW completes CS-0156, Violation Report, and submits the report to the Team Leader for discussion and approval."