Toddler found dead in backseat of stolen SUV after his dad was fatally shot during argument in Houston
The father went to meet the suspect at a supermarket who shot him dead before taking his vehicle with the child and abandoning it elsewhere
HOUSTON, TEXAS: The Houston Police Department said that a two-year-old was found dead in an SUV in southwest Houston on Tuesday, September 20. The toddler's father was shot dead the same day in the afternoon, outside a supermarket. The child is suspected to have died of heat exhaustion after the man who stole the SUV abandoned it some time after the shooting.
Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said during a press conference on the same day, "This is the hardest thing we did," referring to his team finding the deceased child. "The hardest thing we do and the hardest thing I've ever done" he added.
The child was found in the backseat of the stolen SUV on 5900 Elm St. According to police, the tragic turn of events began shortly before 2 pm when the child's 38-year-old father met up with the suspect, who shot him, on El Camino Del Rey Street for unknown reasons. An altercation erupted between the two, and the suspect shot the father multiple times and he died on the scene, KHOU reported. The suspect then escaped in the victim’s SUV, which was a black Chevrolet Traverse or Equinox with a paper license plate.
The Houston police received a call about 6:30 pm from a woman who reported that her husband and child were missing, and the information she provided helped investigators understand that her husband was the shooting victim. Before the woman called, police were unaware that a child was inside the SUV, which they located about 30 minutes after speaking with the mother. Officers broke the glass of the vehicle, but the child was already too far gone. While the cause of death will only be determined after an autopsy, investigators believed that he died from heat exposure as he may have been in the car since about 2 pm.
The investigation took a different turn when Houston police spoke with the victim’s spouse. She told the officers that her husband left with their two-year-old son and that he "was going somewhere to meet with someone." The Houston Police tweeted, "South Gessner officers are at a shooting scene 5500 El Camino Del Ray. Adult male deceased at the scene. 202"
Police have described the suspect as a Black man with a slim build and beard. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and black shorts with a “very distinctive” black Raiders hat.