High school classmates injured, killed in Ava parking lot brawl

Published: Jul. 25, 2016 at 4:05 PM CDT
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Eighteen-year-old Payton Esterline of Ava, Missouri remained in intensive care at a Springfield hospital as of late Monday. His friends and family are with him praying for his recovery. Some of those friends were at Ava High School early Monday morning during a confrontation that turned deadly.

"I told them to call the cops, because I knew he had a gun before he came there. We called them; they just got there too late," said Chance Dobbs, a classmate of both.

It was an argument between the two recent Ava High School graduates, Payton Esterline and Paul Porter, that lead them to parking lot at the school, Dobbs said, to fight it out.

"He (Paul Porter) would put a gun to his head, say he was going to commit suicide. His girlfriend left him and stuff like that," Dobbs said.

Classmates of Paul Porter said he was troubled over a recently ended relationship, sending disturbing images and messages to his former girlfriend.

"Payton got mad about it and told him he was going to fight him if he didn't stop, and he didn't stop," Dobbs said.

However friends said that confrontation between Payton Esterline and Paul Porter quickly took a turn when Porter pulled out a gun. A horrific situation soon played out in the high school parking lot.

"I just ran up to him I was like, 'Paul, what are you doing? What are you doing?' And after he shot Payton and he swung the gun over at me, and I hit the ground, heard a gunshot, and got up, and running around the truck, and Payton was under the truck. He shot two more times under the truck, and Payton ran off, and everybody else ran off. Paul was standing over truck, and I ran up to him, and he shot himself when I got up there, and I grabbed ahold of him and just held him there and just watched him and screamed," Dobbs said.

Paul Porter was college bound with an offer to play football, classmates said, while Esterline wants to become a truck driver. For one young man those dreams are forever extinguished. For the other, shot three times, they may be indefinitely on hold.

"Pray for Payton, and pray for Paul's family," Dobbs said.

As of late Monday, Esterline remained in intensive care at a Springfield hospital. Also as of late Monday, KY3 had not received word of funeral services for Porter.