1 dead, 3 injured in poker game shootout

February 6, 2012 9:20:04 AM PST
Three brothers were shot early Sunday during a poker game at a northeast Harris County home.

Now, their teenage nephew says he is not only left without his uncles, but also his sole guardian.

The shooting happened around 1:30am Sunday at a home on Varnell near Northington.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Manuel Morales, Angel Vazquez, Jose Vazquez, and Alberto Vazquez were playing poker at the residence.

The victims' nephew, Eduardo Vazquez, said the poker game was just a way for the family to spend time together.

It was all fun, he said, until Morales -- an invited guest, who was not a family member -- got angry.

"He had a gun in his car or something. He got mad and he pulled it out," Eduardo Vazquez said. "I actually came outside when I heard the gunshot."

Eduardo Vazquez said those bullets where flying right under the carport of his 48-year-old uncle and legal guardian, Angel Vazquez.

The commotion reportedly began minutes earlier with an argument, then a fight.

"I was looking through the window when they started arguing," Eduardo Vazquez said.

Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies say the teen's uncles then ordered Morales to leave the party, even pushing him away from the house. But authorities say Morales didn't immediately leave.

Instead, officials said Morales went to his car, got a gun, came back and opened fire.

Investigators said the gunman shot indiscriminately into the crowd of people, striking the three brothers.

One of the Vazquez's uncles, Angel Vazquez, then retrieved a pistol of his own and returned fire, striking the suspect.

"I heard the gunshots and I duck, and I ran to the street to wherever they were and I just helped them get to a truck and to a hospital," Vazquez said.

Deputies said Morales fled in an SUV. They found him a few blocks away at a gas station on Mount Houston at the Eastex Freeway.

Angel Vazquez, Eduardo's guardian died at an area hospital. Both of his other uncles -- 58-year-old Jose Vazquez and 54-year-old Alberto Vazquez -- were in the hospital Sunday in serious but stable condition, authorities said.

At last check, the suspect was in critical condition.

Morales, 41 is now charged with murder. Bond has been set at $50,000.