AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police have identified a new suspect in a Thanksgiving night murder after murder charges were dropped against the first suspect they arrested. Police have arrested and charged 18-year-old Edgar Perez-Gamez with murder.
On Nov. 23, 2017, police responded to a shooting at a parking lot at 9616 North Lamar Blvd. When they arrived, they discovered two people had been shot and both were taken to the hospital in private cars. One of the victims, Samuel Charlez, 23, a known drug dealer according to an arrest warrant, died from his injuries nearly two weeks later.
Four witnesses told detectives they saw a blue-colored SUV pull into the parking lot prior to the three to four shots being fired. One of the witnesses said she was able to get a good look at the shooter and described him as a skinny, Hispanic man with a mustache.
A few weeks after the shooting, police arrested a 32-year-old man, claiming he was the shooter. According to court records, Charlez had gotten into an altercation with that person around two days before the shooting and they had known each other for five years.
However, at the end of January, Austin police said charges were dropped against the first suspect because witnesses said they arrested the wrong person. The surviving victim in the case also told detective he picked the wrong person out of the photo lineup. He said the suspect was actually a “younger Hispanic male,” police said.
According to an arrest warrant, Charlez’s mother learned Perez had admitted to shooting her son. She told detectives Perez-Gamez lived around from corner from her house and that he drove a blue Chevrolet Tahoe. When police tracked down the vehicle, they spoke to the suspect’s mother who told police her son told her what happened the night of the shooting. Perez-Gamez told his mother he was cutting through the parking lot to avoid a red light when some young men were waving at him like they knew him. When he pulled up, he realized he didn’t know them and “one of them punched him in the face.”
The suspect said one of the men reached into his waistband, so that’s when he fired, according to the arrest warrant. Although the suspect stated he was defending himself, police say he never made any attempt to contact them, continued in the affidavit.