18-year-old suspect charged with manslaughter, accused of fatally shooting teen friend while driving

Tuesday, September 12, 2023
18-year-old charged with manslaughter in teen friend's shooting death
Although officials initially believed the 16-year-old victim was handling a gun that misfired during a crash, an investigation determined the shot may have been unintentionally or recklessly fired by a friend.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- An 18-year-old charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of his friend has been identified.

Fabian Valdez was charged for the Aug. 21 shooting of 16-year-old Emmanuel "Manuel" Delgado, who was fatally shot while driving on Wallisville Road.

Court records show the suspect was arrested on Monday morning. Valdez's charges showed up on the Harris County Jail's website overnight. He's scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday morning, Harris County sheriff's deputies have not released Valdez's mug shot.

PREVIOUS REPORT: 18-year-old accused of discharging gun, killing friend while driving in northeast Harris County

An 18-year-old has been arrested in connection to his 16-year-old friend's shooting death on Aug. 21 at an intersection in NE Harris County.

Authorities initially reported that Delgado was driving with three other teens in the car and handling a gun when he crashed into the back of another vehicle, causing the gun to fire.

Delgado was shot and taken to the hospital via LifeFlight, where he later died.

His family said they never believed that he shot himself.

"He was shot and killed. He didn't shoot himself," Emmanuel's cousin, Adan Delgado, told ABC13. "We didn't want our cousin to be painted in a picture that he took his own life."

Delgado was a junior at C.E. King High School, his family said. About a dozen family members gathered at his home wearing T-shirts with the teen's picture. The last few weeks have been devastating for them.

"It hurts a lot. We're in pain. He was so young. He didn't deserve that," Emmanuel's other cousin, Palmira Delgado, said.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Gun goes off in car with 4 teens inside, killing 16-year-old driver in NE Harris Co., sheriff says

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said it appears the teen driver was handling a pistol before he rear-ended another car, though it's possible one of the passengers was the one with the gun.

The teen's family said that Monday's news of an arrest brought some relief, but it, too, is delicate. Valdez and his family reportedly lived across the street from Emmanuel's family. According to the family, they were all friends.

"It's hard because I've known him for a long time," Maely Delgado, the victim's sister, said. "It makes me want to go back in time and never meet him."

The family said the teens left to get food that night in Delgado's sister car when the shooting happened. The sheriff's office responded around 8:15 p.m. to the Wallisville Road and E. Sam Houston Parkway North intersection.

A manslaughter charge suggests investigators believe the shooting was reckless or unintentional.

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