UPDATED WITH BELLAIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT STATEMENT
UPDATE 1:30 P.M. MONDAY, JAN. 20: Bellaire Police issued the following statement this afternoon: “The pistol believed to be the weapon used in last Tuesday’s shooting at Bellaire High School has been recovered and is in possession of the Bellaire Police Department. This message is being sent to let citizens and their famines know they are not in danger of a loose firearm in the community from this incident.
“We understand persons’ desire for additional information, but the Bellaire Police Department will not release any more details. As it could compromise the integrity of the investigation. Also, we are charged with safeguarding the rights of the suspect and will be vigilant of such.
”As this is an ongoing investigation, (Police) Chief (Byron) Holloway will make decisions as to what information will be released and when. Thank you your understanding.”
There’s no word on where or when it was discovered, but the city of Bellaire reported Monday (Jan. 20) that the weapon believed to have been used in the shooting death of Bellaire HS student Cesar Cortes on campus last Tuesday has been found.
A law enforcement dive unit had been observed by KPRC News searching for the gun in a nearby drainage channel. Residents between the school and the Meyerland location where a juvenile suspect was arrested about 3 ½ hours after the shooting had also been asked by Bellaire police investigating the crime to check their property for a .32-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
A service was held Saturday at West University Baptist Church for Cortes, 19, a senior and leader in Bellaire’s Junior ROTC program who friends and family said had planned on enlisting in the U.S. Army after graduation.
The 16 year-old schoolmate, whose name is not being released because of his age, remains in custody for evaluation after a juvenile court hearing Friday. He is charged with manslaughter, and the Harris County District Attorney has described the killing as “unintentional.” He has another court date in two weeks.
There are reports that a number of students saw the young man at school with the gun throughout the day. Despite an active student movement for gun awareness at the school and concerns about reports of as many as three other incidents of guns on the Bellaire campus this school year, no one reported the armed student.