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Detectives: Road rage cause of fatal shooting in North Harris County

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A U.S. Marine is dead and his 21-year-old neighbor is charged with murder after what investigators are calling a road rage-related incident in northeast Harris County.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, a motorcycle and a small vehicle were involved in a road rage incident and the drivers got into a physical altercation. It happened just before 10:30pm Friday outside a home in the 23700 block of Greenland Oaks Court near Park Spring Drive.

"I heard a motorcycle revving its motor, and I heard it squealing its tires like it was hot-rodding up and down the road or something," neighbor Johnny Nappier said.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the son of the driver of the small vehicle -- 21-year-old Christopher Ernest Braughton -- came outside during his father's confrontation with the motorcyclist. He allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired one shot, hitting the motorcyclist.

"Just a couple minutes later, I heard 'POP,'" Nappier said. "Sounded like a gun."

Neighbor Carlos Diaz says his own son was home at the time.

"He came down and witnessed them arguing and he saw the son come out with a gun," Diaz said.

Witnesses tell investigators the motorcyclist -- identified by relatives as Emanuel Dominguez-- began backing away with his hands in the air when Braughton opened fire, shooting him once in the torso.

Emergency responders were called the scene, but it was too late. Dominguez had already died.

Braughton was taken into custody. Deputies later learned the shooter and the victim were neighbors.

"I feel for the young man [Braughton] because, you know, he reacted to what he thought was a threat on his dad's life," Diaz said.

The suspect's family preferred not to talk to us on camera, but they say there is more to the story than meets the eye. They have retained the services of an attorney.

Investigators told us Braughton was taken in for questioning, but he did not provide a statement at the advice of his attorney. The Harris County District Attorney's Office was contacted and accepted murder charges on the suspect who was arrested and placed in the Harris County Jail.

Dominguez's father told us his son was a U.S. Marine with two kids who was about to finish his service. Neighbors say both men are paying the price for tempers that flared out of control.

"It's too easy for violence to occur. You've got to keep yourself calm and relax," Nappier said. "Better to live another day."

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