2nd suspect given $1M bond, charged with murder of 8-year-old boy in E. Harris Co. drive-by shooting

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, September 1, 2022
2nd suspect given $1M bond in death of 8-year-old in drive-by shooting
Jalonie Floyd Ernest is the second suspect charged with murder in a mistaken identity drive-by shooting that left 8-year-old Paul Vasquez dead.

CLOVERLEAF, Texas (KTRK) -- A second suspect has been arrested in the deadly drive-by shooting of an 8-year-old boy earlier this summer in east Harris County.

Jalonie Floyd Ernest, 21, is charged with murder in the death of Paul Vasquez.

The 8-year-old was shot and killed inside his Cloverleaf-area home on June 12.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 'It was clearly targeted': Boy killed when person fired multiple shots at E. Harris Co. home

Authorities say the 7-year-old was in bed when he was shot. After the shooting, he got up and told his mother he'd been hit before becoming unresponsive.

Investigators believe Ernest was the shooter in the deadly drive-by.

Ernest appeared in probable cause court on Wednesday afternoon, where his bond was set at $1 million, double what the Harris County District Attorney's requested. If he makes bond, he would be ordered to house arrest and required to wear a GPS monitor.

"I find the bond amount is necessary to reasonably ensure the safety of the community," the hearing officer said in court.

Officials said Paul was not the intended target. Instead, investigators believe it was a case of mistaken identity stemming from a drive-by shooting at the home of Ernest's mother.

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Denzel Jordan Perkins was arrested for his role in the shooting. Investigators believe he was the driver in the shooting.

READ MORE: Man accused of killing 8-year-old in E. Harris Co. just came off probation, records show

Perkins was on probation for a charge of felon in possession of a firearm at the time of the shooting. According to court records, he had previously violated the conditions of his probation, but instead of getting prison time, Perkins was given another year of probation.

Records show Perkins has had prior arrests for burglary and drug possession. His probation for the charge of felon in possession of a firearm was extended in January 2022.

Prior booking photos of Denzel Jordan Perkins.
Texas Dept. of Public Safety

Investigators made an urgent call to the public in the days after Paul's murder to find his killer or killers. Photos of a gray Kia Optima with front-end damage became the centerpiece of the investigation.

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

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.

A gas station surveillance camera spotted the vehicle near the scene.

According to deputies, Paul was in bed in the front of his family's home in the 13800 block of McNair when nine to 10 shots hit the residence. He then got up and told his mother he had been shot before becoming unresponsive, Sgt. Jason Brown said.

Paul's mother and two brothers were inside the home but were not hit.

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