Suspect accused of shooting classmate weeks before HPD murder

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, November 13, 2020
Man accused of shooting classmate before HPD murder
Armold Salas said he and a friend were sitting in his car at a stoplight last month when they came under attack by 24-year-old Robert Soliz, a man who he said he recognized from high school. Now, he says the encounter seems more frightening after learning Soliz was accused of shooting and killing an HPD sergeant.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A north Houston man says just three weeks before Houston Police Sgt. Sean Rios was murdered, he was a road rage victim of the man accused of killing the HPD veteran.

According to 25-year-old Arnold Salas, he was driving with a friend in the near Northside on Oct. 16, when Robert Soliz, 24, started antagonizing him.

He said Soliz, who was driving a light blue Mercedes Benz, repeatedly sped up and then slowed down. When they came to a stop at an intersection, Soliz yelled at him. Salas recognized him from high school.

"He said, 'I'm going to shoot you up. I'm going to shoot your car up,'" Salas told ABC13. "He got out of his car and emptied the whole clip in the car."

SEE ALSO: Who is Robert Soliz? Man accused of killing HPD Sgt. Rios

He fired eight times at the driver's side, Salas said.

Salas and his friend ducked and escaped unharmed, but in a panic, he put the car in reverse and crashed. It was totaled.

"I've lost everything because of him. I can't get to work. I'm basically homeless."

Salas was not surprised, he says, when he learned that Soliz was charged with murder for the shooting death of Sgt. Rios.

Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Tuesday that Rios was intervening in a road rage incident on the North Freeway involving Soliz. Soliz's attorney has called those circumstances "radically wrong." Soliz was driving the same Mercedes.

"He's (Rios) out there to protect and serve and you have this hooligan out here just causing chaos and drama and it's for no reason. The same thing that happened to him is the same thing that happened to me and I'm supposed to be in the officer's shoes right now," said Salas.

Prosecutors talked about the aggravated assault case during court on Thursday. It was one of two new aggravated assault charges filed against Soliz unrelated to the sergeant's murder. The other is for allegedly pointing a gun at a gas station store clerk in January.

He is being held in jail on bond totaling $700,000.


Suspect in HPD sergeant's murder acted in self-defense, relative says

A family member of a 24-year-old accused of an HPD sergeant's murder insists the gun battle that led to the killing was in self-defense. The video above has more on what the relative told ABC13.

Police now looking for separate person of interest in HPD sergeant's death

It's time to help police. In the video, take a good look at a person of interest that HPD is looking for after the killing of Sgt. Sean Rios.

Follow Jessica Willey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.