Officials: Minor charged with manslaughter after student dies from gunshot wound at Bellaire High School in Houston

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HOUSTON, Texas (KETK/KPRC) – Prosecutors say a minor has been charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a student at Bellaire High School in Houston on Tuesday afternoon, according to our NBC affiliate KPRC.

The shooting reportedly happened around 4:00 p.m. when police and fire responded to the incident which reportedly happened in the school’s ROTC classroom

Emergency crews were seen performing CPR as the student was transported on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. The Houston ISD later confirmed the student later died.

The victim has been identified as Cesar Cortes, 19.

His uncle called Cortes “a natural leader” and said, “he was extremely excited uh and pumped about going to the army later in the year.”

“He had already signed up,” Cesar Diaz said. “That was his biggest thing and he was extremely focused in doing that.”

The Bellaire High School JROTC confirmed that Cortes was a member. A friend said he enlisted in the army with Cortes and that they were scheduled to leave June 29.

The suspect ran from the scene but was later caught and arrested by Houston police.

Based on the evidence gathered from police, the 16-year-old mistakenly shot his friend in the school’s ROTC room before fleeing. The two were in the room at the high school with four other students but no adult when the 16-year-old took the semi-automatic pistol out of his waistband and pulled the trigger.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office says the minor could not be identified because of privacy laws, and authorities haven’t released even basic non-identifying information about the alleged shooter, including the person’s age and sex.

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Grenita Lathan spoke at a press conference Tuesday night.

“Our hearts go out to that student’s family, his friends, his classmates and the staff here at Bellaire High School,” she said. “It’s a tragic loss to our school community and our city.”

HISD released the following statement:

“HISD will cancel classes for students at Bellaire High School tomorrow, Wednesday, January 15. However, staff members are asked to report to campus. Bellaire High School students should report to school on Thursday, January 16.”

Counselors will be provided by the district for students impacted by the shooting.

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