An 18-year-old charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of his friend has been identified.
Fabian Valdez was charged for the Aug. 21 shooting of 16-year-old Emmanuel “Manuel” Delgado, who was fatally shot while driving on Wallisville Road.
Court records show the suspect was arrested on Monday morning. Valdez’s charges showed up on the Harris County Jail’s website overnight. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday morning, Harris County sheriff’s deputies have not released Valdez’s mug shot.
Authorities initially reported that Delgado was driving with three other teens in the car and handling a gun when he crashed into the back of another vehicle, causing the gun to fire.
Delgado was shot and taken to the hospital via LifeFlight, where he later died.
His family said they never believed that he shot himself.
“He was shot and killed. He didn’t shoot himself,” Emmanuel’s cousin, Adan Delgado, told reporters. “We didn’t want our cousin to be painted in a picture that he took his own life.”
Delgado was a junior at C.E. King High School, his family said. About a dozen family members gathered at his home wearing T-shirts with the teen’s picture. The last few weeks have been devastating for them.
“It hurts a lot. We’re in pain. He was so young. He didn’t deserve that,” Emmanuel’s other cousin, Palmira Delgado, said.
The teen’s family said that Monday’s news of an arrest brought some relief, but it, too, is delicate. Valdez and his family reportedly lived across the street from Emmanuel’s family. According to the family, they were all friends.
“It’s hard because I’ve known him for a long time,” Maely Delgado, the victim’s sister, said. “It makes me want to go back in time and never meet him.”
The family said the teens left to get food that night in Delgado’s sister car when the shooting happened. The sheriff’s office responded around 8:15 p.m. to the Wallisville Road and E. Sam Houston Parkway North intersection.
A manslaughter charge suggests investigators believe the shooting was reckless or unintentional.