Pickup truck driver allegedly shot and killed by passenger on East Sam Houston Tollway, sheriff says

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Passenger shoots driver multiple times on East Beltway, sheriff says
A driver is dead after being shot by his passenger inside a truck on the East Sam Houston Tollway in northeast Harris County, deputies said.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A person is charged with murder after allegedly shooting a man inside a truck on the East Sam Houston Tollway in northeast Harris County, investigators said.

According to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Harris County Constable Precinct 3 deputies were patrolling the Beltway and monitoring traffic just before 8 a.m. Monday, when they saw a pickup truck come barreling down the road.

The truck struck the concrete barrier on the southbound lanes near Generation Park and came to a stop, Gonzalez said.

"At first, they thought it might be an intoxicated or impaired driver," Gonzalez said.

As deputies approached the front of the truck, they noticed the front passenger was armed with a pistol, according to Gonzalez.

That's when they decided to retreat and call for backup.

When backup arrived, Gonzalez said the deputies approached again and ordered the passenger, identified as Jose Paredes-Martínez, to exit the vehicle, which he did.

Law enforcement noticed the driver, later identified as Samuel Mata, had suffered a gunshot to the head after Paredes-Martínez's surrender.

"(Mata) was pronounced deceased at the scene," Gonzalez said.

SkyEye video from above the scene showed a gun on the ground near the truck.

Gonzalez said investigators believe the two men knew each other, but they're investigating all possibilities as to why this shooting took place.

"We don't rule anything out," Gonzalez said. "It could also be some kind of carjacking or something."

This was the only vehicle involved, and officials don't believe it had anything to do with road rage.

"It appears whatever transpired happened inside the pickup truck," Gonzalez said. "It appears that it was inside the car, based on the wound, (Paredes-Martínez) being armed, and what appears to be an exit strike to one of the windows that appear to be coming from inside the vehicle."

The sheriff said it was remarkable that more people weren't hurt in the shooting and subsequent crash.

"One of the Pct. 3 units was parked right along the side of the roadway, and they just missed him. He was here monitoring traffic, as they do in the mornings," Gonzalez said. "Or they could have hit another vehicle because the vehicle was just barreling down the roadway, as they described."

Paredes-Martínez was charged with murder and booked into the Harris County Jail, according to Gonzalez.

All main lanes of traffic reopened shortly before 11 a.m.

For news updates, follow Chaz Miller on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.