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Victoria man arrested in connection with shooting (Video)

By chirst
Nov. 15, 2012 at 5:15 a.m.
Updated Nov. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.

Christopher Salazar

How to help

To make a donation to the family to cover funeral costs, call Veronica Gonzales at 361-655-1314.

A Victoria man was arrested about 6 p.m. Wednesday in the shooting death of Johnny Ray Salazar, 31, of Victoria.

Christopher Salazar, 24, no relation to the victim, was charged with one count of murder, a first-degree felony. He is being held at the Victoria County Jail with no bond, said Police Chief J.J. Craig.

Johnny Salazar was shot one time in the chest in the 500 block of East South Street about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Veronica Gonzales, the victim's cousin, said she hopes the police continue to investigate any leads in the case.

"I was glad that they got someone in custody," Gonzales said. "I just hope that it doesn't take a long time to see it follow through with the trial and everything like that, because justice needs to be done in honor of my cousin."

She said the death has been hard on the family, especially his 15-year-old daughter.

"He loved his daughter more than anything in the world. He was always constantly thinking of her," Gonzales said. "You could just tell they had a special bond; they didn't have to be doing anything tremendous or extravagant, as long as they were together."

Christopher Salazar was arrested during a traffic stop at Laurel Avenue and Vine Street, said Sgt. Eline Moya, police spokeswoman.

"This is a obviously very tragic incident that occurred and officers and detectives from the Victoria Police Department reacted very quickly to information they received and that led to the arrest," Craig said.

Police also executed a search warrant at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of East South Street to look for evidence of the crime. Craig did not release what they found.

The two men appeared to have an altercation that night, Officer Heather Rodriguez said on the scene Tuesday.

"As far as I'm concerned, I would consider it to be gang related," Craig said. "Both individuals are from known gangs. So from that perspective, I would rule it to be gang related. As far as if it was a personal argument between the two of them, we are still following leads on that."

Both men had criminal records.

According to Department of Public Safety criminal history records, Johnny Salazar was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 1999, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2001, possession of marijuana in 2005 and manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance in 2006.

Christopher Salazar was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2007 and two counts of tampering or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair in 2009.

Police are not looking for additional suspects at this time, Craig said.

Gonzales, who is planning the funeral for Johnny Salazar, said now the family is struggling with how to cover that cost.

She said the Crime Victims' Compensation fund, provided through the Attorney General's Office, denied the request filed by the family to help cover costs.

"They told me I was denied because ... the police report (said) my cousin initiated the confrontation that caused him to get shot, that is why he was denied," Gonzales said.

She said the two men had had disagreements in the past and she heard her cousin was trying to settle the dispute when the argument got out of control.

"But just because they had words doesn't mean he should have been killed over it," Gonzales said. "He was just in the neighborhood and this happened. I don't think we were fairly given the chance to get assistance for him."

She said Artero Memorial Chapels has given them until Sunday to come up with the money for burial, a total of $5,341. She said they still need about $4,300.

"I am his cousin. We were raised together and it is very upsetting. I feel like I should be doing more for him, but my hands are tied. I am just stuck," she said.

Mary Ortuno, with the Attorney General's Office, said the family's case was denied because Johnny Salazar's "behavior contributed to his murder" but the family can choose to appeal the decision.

Moya said they did file for assistance before an arrest was made in the case.

Gonzales said she plans to appeal the decision made by the Attorney General's Office.

"He was like a brother," Gonzales said. "We grew up in the same house with my grandmother ... I just - I will miss his laugh."

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