Suspect charged in murder of man in front of family

May 15, 2012 3:19:08 AM PDT
Police have identified the man they say gunned down a father in front of his family after a Mother's Day celebration.

Those who knew Raymundo Zarate Jr. can't believe he is gone. They describe him as a family man who never caused any trouble.

"He was just a really nice guy," family friend Jesus Estrada said. "I could tell he was such a loving father. He loved his kids and loved his wife."

Now investigators say they are searching for Daniel Longoria, Jr., the man wanted in the murder of the 43-year-old father. Witnesses say Longoria followed Zarate's family from a park in Tomball to their Magnolia home after an argument at a Mother's Day celebration.

Mary O'Connor looks forward to spending Mondays with her granddaughter at Spring Creek Park. She was surprised to learn that less than 24 hours ago Ramundo Zarate, a beloved father and husband, was followed home from the park and allegedly killed by a man he'd been arguing with. Zarate had been celebrating Mother's Day with his family.

"We just live in a sick world today," O'Connor said.

Late Monday afternoon investigators indentified Daniel Longoria, 42, as the alleged shooter. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest. The two men started arguing again once they reached Zarate's house. Authorities say that's when Longoria pulled out a shotgun and shot Zarate twice, right in front his family.

Neighbor Rena Dawson said, "We couldn't tell what they were saying because they were arguing in Spanish. After the shots, then they started hollering in English, 'Help, help, help!'"

The disturbance at the park began when Longoria used profanity that offended Zarate's family members. The argument got heated. That's when a park employee told both men to leave and that law enforcement would be on its way -- so they did.

A Harris County Precinct 4 spokesman told us, "Three deputy constables arrived within a few minutes of the call. The procedures and deputy presence maintained a safe environment in the park."

"He wasn't a violent person, you know," Dawson said of Zarate. "He loved his kids. You'd always see him out there with his kids playing."

While the shooting didn't happen at the park, visitors like Mary O'Connor believe the incident highlights the need for security, especially on the weekends when it's busy and especially now that summer is almost here.

O'Connor said, "Then I wouldn't worry about bringing her or another child here by myself."

Longoria was last seen driving a green hatchback with no hub caps. Investigators believe someone may have been in the car with him. Longoria is described as a heavily tattooed Hispanic male, 42 years old, 5'8" to 5'10", weighing about 160 to 190 pounds.

Longoria's whereabouts are unknown and anyone with information is urged to contact Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at 800-392-7867.

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