New images released by deputies of getaway car used in murder of 8-year-old boy

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, June 17, 2022
8-year-old's killer may have been in Kia with front-end damage
Paul Vasquez, 8, was shot to death when someone fired off 9-10 shots in the Cloverleaf area. Now, new images reveal a car that may have been used by the killer.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- There's an urgent push to find the killers who gunned down an 8-year-old boy in what deputies described as a drive-by shooting in east Harris County.

Investigators released new images Thursday from a video of what Harris County homicide investigators said is the car the killers were in last Sunday night when at least two people shot and killed 8-year-old Paul Vasquez.

Detectives found video at a gas station near the scene of the shooting in the Cloverleaf area.

It shows a gray Kia Optima with obvious damage to the front passenger side pull up to a trailer home before someone in the vehicle fires nine to 10 shots.

Paul was in bed in the front of a home in the 13800 block of McNair at the time of the shooting. He then got up and told his mother he had been shot before becoming unresponsive, Sgt. Jason Brown said.

"It was clearly targeted," Sgt. Brown said earlier this week. "The suspects stopped in front of the home and fired multiple rounds into the home. I don't have an exact number, but it was quite a few."

Paul was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he died.

Galena Park ISD sent a letter out to parents indicating the child attended Cloverleaf Elementary School. They offered their counselors and crisis response team for students.

"We're hoping someone out there in the public has possibly seen this car or has seen this car in the past. We're looking to see if anyone can come forward with information to lead us to this vehicle," Deputy Adriel Hinojosa said.

The child was home at the time with his mother and two brothers, but he was the only one who was shot. Investigators said they do not have a motive.

Unfortunately, child shooting deaths are becoming increasingly common. Data from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science indicates that 19 children have died in 2022 from firearm deaths classified as homicide or accidental.

That number is compared to six in 2018 year-to-date, 12 in 2019, 16 in 2020, and 21 in 2021.

Dr. Sandra McKay with UTHealth in Houston and Memorial Hermann treats pediatric patients who survive the shootings.

She said the hospital system had seen a 65% increase in firearm-related injuries to children since the start of the pandemic.

"We have really done a fantastic job at making cars safer and car seats safer and roads safer to help reduce those injuries from motor vehicles, but we really have not taken that approach to firearm injuries, and that's really where we need to be to keep children safe," Dr. McKay said.

Editor's note: Authorities initially reported the boy was 7 years old. It was not until they released an update that they confirmed Paul was actually 8.

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