16-year-old charged with manslaughter in deadly Bellaire High School shooting

A 16-year-old suspect in the deadly shooting of a Bellaire High School student has been charged with manslaughter.

Based on evidence, the Harris County District Attorney's Office says the suspect did not mean to kill the victim. He will be charged as a juvenile.

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According to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, the act was not intentional, "but it was reckless." 

The suspect has been transferred to the Harris County Juvenile Probation Center.

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According to police, Cesar Cortes, a 19-year-old Bellaire High School senior, was shot at the school around 4 p.m. Tuesday. Cesar was taken to the hospital but later passed away.

When officers arrived, the shooter had fled the scene. Bellaire police began searching for the suspect with the help of Houston ISD police and West University police. Around 7:30 p.m., Bellaire police arrested a suspect and a second person in connection to the case.

Surveillance video shows officers swarm a dumpster outside of a grocery store and take two males into custody.

Police say the handgun used in the shooting has not been recovered, and the suspect may have discarded it while fleeing. Anyone who lives near the school is asked to call the police department immediately if they find what appears to be a handgun on their property.

The Houston Independent School District canceled classes for Bellaire High School students on Wednesday, however, staff members were asked to report to campus. Classes resume on Thursday.

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HISD says grief and crisis counselors will be available on campus. Extra officers will also be at the school.

HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan released a statement: 

"Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of one of our students. The past 24 hours have been incredibly difficult for Bellaire High School and the Houston ISD community. A tragedy of this magnitude is difficult to comprehend. As a parent, I am deeply saddened and angered by this horrific act of violence. Details are still unfolding, and we may not know for some time why this happened. Unfortunately, HISD is not immune to the plague of gun violence afflicting school campuses nationwide. We are committed to vigilantly protecting students and staff at our schools. HISD will continue to evaluate our security measures, as we regularly do, in order to maximize the safety of our children and staff. I want to thank all local law enforcement agencies, which acted swiftly to respond and apprehend a suspect. I am also grateful to the principal of Bellaire High School and the rest of the staff who took appropriate action to ensure no other students were physically harmed during the incident. Every child deserves a safe school environment. Classes at Bellaire High School will resume tomorrow, January 16. Crisis counselors will be available to Bellaire students and staff for as long as they are needed. There will be additional HISD police officers on campus and patrols around the campus and extra administrative personnel to ensure the school is safe and secure."