Sketches, video released by Houston police to help try to solve murder case
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Police have released surveillance video of possible suspects in a horrific murder in west Houston. The victim was beaten and badly burned over the weekend.
He was the neighborhood soccer star and family members of 30-year-old El Salvador native Carlos Hernandez say he didn't deserve what happened to him around 4am Sunday in the 1300 block of Witte Road.
Officials say they still don't know if he was targetted or randomly chosen, but either way, the attack was vicious.
"He was severely burned -- 92 percent of his body. Visually he is unidentifiable," HPD homicide Sgt. William Bush said.
Houston police investigators say Hernandez had been out with friends and was walking away from an apartment complex on Witte Road, headed to his own apartment complex across the street. That's when witnesses say he was confronted by a group of men who began beating him. Two of the suspects seen in these sketches.
"The only thing that they heard was a scream and that's what caused them to come back from trying to enter their apartment to look. And when they looked, that's when they saw the flames," HPD homicide Sgt. Arnauld Semmelrock said.
Police say Hernandez was doused with a combustible liquid and set on fire. The attack..
"It's absolutely the most vicious one I've ever seen," Bush said.
Police say further investigation determined three men were seen walking in the area of Witte Road and Long Point Drive. One of them was seen on surveillance video carrying a red gallon-sized gas can. These three men are persons of interest. At this time, it's not clear if they're the same three people who they say beat and burned the victim.
Meanwhile the victim's cousin, who asked not to be identified, says his family is still in shock.
"To see him in the hospital just the last hours of his life," the cousin said via a translator. "He was a good guy. He was always in the good side and he never seen him in gang are anything like that so that's the most shocking side. How he got killed that way."
Two of the people police want to talk to are described as African-American males between 17 and 23 years of age, standing about 5 feet, 9 inches to 6 feet tall with a dark complexion and skinny builds. One was wearing a black or dark hoodie, say police, and the other a gray or light hoodie.
The third person of interest is described as an African-American male, standing around 5 feet 2 inches tall with light complexions. He's believed to be in his teens or early 20s with a medium build. He was wearing a gray or light hoodie.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
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