Fire captain pleads to daughter's killer

July 10, 2009 8:14:22 AM PDT
A local father is making a plea to find the man who killed his daughter. That father is a Houston Fire Department Captain, and is calling on those who he's helped for more than 24 years: Houstonians. Senior Captain Larry Lira with the HFD is surrounded by relatives who are all trying to deal with the death of his daughter Michelle.

"She basically loved everything and everyone and was always happy, no matter what the circumstances were," said Sr. Capt. Lira.

Michelle, 23, was preparing to go to nursing school. On Monday, sheriff's deputies say her ex-boyfriend, Selestino Torres, 23, came to her home as Michelle and her mother Ramona left to go to work at a downtown Medical Clinic.

"He said to Michelle for the last time, he said, 'Michelle, are you sure you don't want to speak to me?' and Ramona tells me that was his confirmation to do what he did," Sr. Capt. Lira said, before breaking down into tears.

Michelle was shot six times and died. Her mother Ramona survived, but has seven gunshot wounds. Some bullets remain in her body because doctors say they are too close to her spinal cord to remove.

"Not only did he hurt my niece and my sister-in-law, he's liable to hurt someone else, so we really need to get this young man off the streets," said the victim's uncle, Martin Lira.

Relatives say Michelle had expressed concerns about Torres while they dated and they add they had warned her. Ironically, the two met several years ago at the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.

"If I were him I would turn myself in if he actually loved Michelle the way he said he loved her," said the victim's aunt, Anna Lira.

Sheriff's deputies are still looking for Torres. They say he has a very distinctive tattoo on his right forearm with the words 'Big Boy' and an 'H' like the old logo of the Houston Astros.

Sr. Capt. Lira, the grieving father and Houston firefighter, says after serving this city the past 27 years, he's hoping Houston can help him.

Police ask anyone with information about Selestino Torres' whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS or log on to Crime-Stoppers.org. There is a $5,000 cash reward and callers remain anonymous.

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