2-year-old found dead inside stolen vehicle after father fatally shot during meet-up, police say

HOUSTON — A man detained by police Wednesday in connection to the deaths of a man shot dead in Houston and his 2-year-old child, who was later found dead in the victim’s stolen SUV, has been charged with murder, according to officials.

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Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 21: Police said the 38-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, will face charges of murder and tampering with evidence.

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 21: Police said the person of interest, who was not immediately identified, was being questioned Wednesday morning.

At a news conference Tuesday, Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said police found a 38-year-old man dead of multiple gunshot wounds earlier in the day. He was shot after meeting with another, unidentified man in the area, Satterwhite said. An argument sparked and the unidentified man started shooting, he said.

About five hours after the shooting, authorities got a call from a woman reporting her husband and her 2-year-old child missing. Earlier, Satterwhite said officials were unaware there was a child involved in the case.

Authorities later found the victim’s stolen car with the 2-year-old child dead inside.

“At this time we don’t know why or how or what the cause of death will be,” Satterwhite said on Tuesday. “It could be something ... like heat exhaustion. We just don’t know. That will be determined later through autopsy.”

Police said the person who shot and killed the victim stole his SUV and later abandoned it with the 2-year-old inside. The SUV was “locked up (and) turned off, and that’s probably what led to the child’s death, but again, we’ll find that out,” Satterwhite said.

Authorities continue to investigate.

Original report: A 2-year-old Houston boy was found dead Tuesday evening inside a stolen SUV after his father was fatally shot during an argument earlier in the day.

According to police, the tragic turn of events began shortly before 2 p.m. when the 38-year-old shooting victim met up with the suspect on El Camino Del Rey Street for unknown reasons. An altercation erupted between the two men, and the suspect shot the father, who died on the scene, multiple times, KHOU reported.

According to KTRK-TV, the suspect then fled in the victim’s SUV, described as a black Chevrolet Traverse or Equinox with a paper license plate.

Meanwhile, police received a call at about 6:30 p.m. from a woman who reported that her husband and child were missing, and the information she provided helped investigators deduce that her husband was the shooting victim, KHOU reported.

Prior to the woman’s call, however, police were unaware that a child was inside the SUV, which they located about 30 minutes after speaking with the mother, KTRK reported.

According to KHOU, responding officers found the child unresponsive in the backseat of the abandoned SUV. Although officers broke the glass to render aid, the child had already died.

The child’s cause of death will be determined by an autopsy, but investigators believe that he died from heat exposure as he may have been in the car since about 2 p.m., KTRK reported.

Police described the suspect, who remained at large late Tuesday, as a Black man with a slim build and hair on his chin. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts with a “very distinctive” black Raiders hat, the TV station reported.