Toddler's accidental shooting led to father's arrest in case of man killed in Marq-E parking lot

Friday, June 18, 2021
Toddler's accidental shooting ties dad to Marq-E capital murder
A toddler's accidental shooting four days later was a lucky break for investigators in the case of a father killed in front of his family on Easter Sunday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A shocking connection was revealed in the murder of a 37-year-old man who was killed in front of his family on Easter Sunday at a west Houston entertainment complex.

A shell casing found in the parking lot and surveillance video from the Marq-E Entertainment Center played a role in helping investigators, but it was the suspect's own son shooting himself four days later that ultimately led to his arrest.

On April 4, Miguel Vasquez was leaving Dave and Buster's at the entertainment center with his 10-year-old daughter when he was shot and killed. His daughter wasn't harmed during the attack.

Nicholas Thomas, 23, has been charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting.

Prosecutors say Thomas may have targeted Vasquez for the watch he was wearing.

Thomas is seen on surveillance video approaching Vasquez, putting him in a chokehold, demanding his watch and shooting him, prosecutors say.

ORIGINAL STORY: Father shot to death in front of 10-year-old daughter during robbery in Marq-E parking lot

Authorities say the 37-year-old dad and his family were at Dave and Buster's, and as he walked with his child to their car, things turned deadly.

The suspect got away after the shooting.

Vasquez ran to off-duty officers who were working security for help, but later died at a hospital. Authorities said they do not believe the suspect got away with anything.

Vasquez's family said the day of the shooting they lost their heart and soul.

"He was the backbone for us. He was the backbone," Vasquez's sister said.

The family had prayed for justice since the day of the shooting. In the days following Vasquez's killing, police released a sketch of the suspect and video showing a white sedan leaving the parking lot at the time of the shooting.

Court records show that just four days after Vasquez's killing, Thomas' 3-year-old son got a hold of the same gun he used and shot himself. Police were able to tie the bullet in that case to a shell casing located at the Dave and Buster's deadly shooting.

Prosecutors say it wasn't just that. They say surveillance video also tied Thomas to the scene.

Since the 37-year-old victim was shot at a west Houston entertainment complex parking lot, HPD released a suspect sketch and surveillance video.

"The vehicle that was seen in the surveillance video matched the vehicle that was registered to the defendant's girlfriend's mother, who stated that the girlfriend was the primary driver, and then found that this defendant was actually a primary driver as well," officials read in court Wednesday.

Even with Thomas' arrest, Vasquez's family says the pain is still there, but at least Thomas is off the streets.

"I felt relieved but at the same time, it's like reliving the nightmare again. Again like when I got the news he's passed away, it's the same thing," Vasquez's sister said.

Thomas' attorney asked for his bond to be set at $30,000, but prosecutors didn't want any bond at all.

Ultimately, the judge set his bond at $150,000. Thomas is due back in court Friday.

Vasquez's family said it plans to attend all the court hearings in honor of their loved ones and to ensure Thomas stays behind bars.

Follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Follow Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.