Family and friends identified the man shot to death as 34-year-old Rene Cantu.
Police found his body on Monday morning after someone passing by called for help. Cantu suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his neck, back, chest and left hand.
Family described Cantu as a gentle, shy soul who loved jogging and walking the streets. They said he felt safe in the Houston neighborhood.
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Cantu's cousin, Esmie Rodriguez, said he was a brother who will be dearly missed.
"He was very well loved in our family. My family is so broken. His mother. Just to hear her screaming, 'That's my son! That's my only son!' It literally broke our family," Rodriguez said. "Whoever did this destroyed a family. To leave him, just laying there like he didn't matter. To us, he mattered. To us, he was somebody. To leave him laying there, somebody had to see something. We just want you to come forward."
His family has started a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.
Cantu worked at the University of Houston.
The institution released the following statement:
The Cougar family is mourning the loss of Rene Cantu, a brilliant writer and communications coordinator in the UH Division of Research. He was a hard-working team player with an amazing sense of humor that came out through his written word. During this difficult time, our thoughts are with Rene's family and all who are affected by this devastating loss.
Anyone with information about Cantu's murder is asked to call Crime Stopper of Houston at 713-222-8477.
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