Teenager Shot and Killed At Bellaire High School Near Houston
Two suspects were arrested in the case, which the district attorney described as an accident between students who were friends.
- By Haley Samsel
- January 16, 2020
As classes let out at Bellaire High School near Houston on Tuesday afternoon, a student was shot and killed in the school’s supply room, according to local authorities.
Two suspects were later arrested, one of whom, a 16-year-old student, was charged with manslaughter. Law enforcement did not immediately release the name of the student who was killed, but on Wednesday, Cesar Cortez, a 19-year-old senior involved in the school’s Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (JROTC), was identified as the victim by a family member.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said the shooting was an accident and that the victim and the shooting suspect were friends, according to NBC affiliate Click2Houston. It is not clear how the second suspect was involved in the shooting.
Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg wrote in a statement on Tuesday that he was in “stunned disbelief” that the shooting took place in the town of less than 20,000 people, and that “one of our own kids won’t be coming home tonight.”
“I feel an overwhelming sadness for all the students and their families, for whom everything has forever changed,” Friedberg wrote. “School is supposed to be a safe place, but our very basic sense of security now gives way to worry. We owe it to our children to find some way to restore it.”
The weapon used to shoot Cortez, who was reported shot in the chest at around 4 p.m., has not yet been recovered as of Wednesday afternoon, according to KHOU. Classes were canceled for students on Wednesday as staff members were directed to report to campus. Students are heading back to class on Thursday as parents continue to worry about the security measures on campus.
“The fact that they’re just, like, 'Come back to school tomorrow. It’s going to be fine.' This is not acceptable,” parent Jonasu Wagstaff told KHOU.
Friedberg said that the community will come together to support the school, which is part of Houston Independent School District.
“School shootings take place with such alarming frequency, it’s easy to become desensitized and lulled into complacency,” Friedberg said. “We see it on TV, and while we know it can happen anywhere, it’s not supposed to happen here. Yet today it has.”
He added: “In times of crisis we've shown what it means to be a community. We’re here for each other, and will move forward together through this difficult time.
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.