Harris County DA says Bellaire High School shooting was unintentional, but still 'reckless'

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HOUSTON — Houston continues to mourn the death of a Bellaire High School student killed in an on-campus shooting. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has described the incident as unintentional but still reckless.

Cesar Cortes, 19, was part of the school’s ROTC program along with the 16-year-old student accused of shooting him. The suspect is charged with manslaughter, but Bellaire police said as more evidence is obtained, the charge could be upgraded.

Ogg explained the reason for the manslaughter charge as opposed to a murder charge. She said based on the evidence so far, that the shooting was not intentional— however, it was reckless.

“They were friendly, they were friends. So this is not an accident, because pulling a trigger on a gun, whether you know if it’s loaded or not, is an intentional act. But he did not, based on the evidence we have right now intend to kill his friend, yet he did.”

Cortes was honored with a vigil Wednesday night.

“Reckless conduct that causes the death of another individual is something that this young person is going to have to live with the rest of his life. But what we do after this charge is we seek to determine a sentence or not – it will depend on the evidence, of course the background. There’s a lot left to this investigation.”

The investigation is still ongoing and authorities are still looking for the gun used in the shooting. They are asking for help from people live in the Bellaire area to notify police immediately if they find a gun on their property.

The shooting has continued the conversation about how to keep students safe from gun violence in schools.

“It’s all of our responsibility to do everything we can to enhance safety at schools and away from schools,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “These incidents, as we all know, are happening far too often. We don’t want to become numb to them but its going to take efforts, actions, on the federal, state in order to enhance the safety of our children.”

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