APD drops charges on original suspect in Thanksgiving murder

Austin Police say charges have been dropped against a man who was originally thought to be the suspect in a murder case from November of last year. This is after one of the victims told officers he picked the wrong guy out of a photo lineup.

The top right-hand corner of the surveillance video shows a vehicle that could be connected to a murder from last year. You can see an SUV driving around in a parking lot off North Lamar near Rundberg Lane. Not even a minute later, it speeds off. 

"This investigation is continuing. We're still looking for the person we believe to be the shooter. We have a video that we were able to locate of a blue SUV that we are asking the public's assistance in helping us locate, identify the owner of the vehicle," says Sgt. Eric De Los Santos, homicide unit, Austin Police Department. 

Austin Police released the video as they announced charges against their original suspect, Hector Mario Guajardo-Garcia, have been dropped: two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Back on November 23, 2017, officers responded to the scene of a shooting. Two people were taken to the hospital. 23-year-old Samuel Charlez was one of the victims. He later died from his injuries. Police say the second living victim initially identified Guajardo-Garcia during a photo lineup but later admitted to picking the wrong person. In light of that information, charges were dropped on January 23. 

"So Mr. Garcia does remain a person of interest. He may know who was responsible for this but at this point, he isn't saying," says Sgt. De Los Santos.  

Several other witnesses have come forward and stated 32-year-old Guajardo-Garcia was not the shooter. They instead describe the suspect as a younger Hispanic man. Police describe the suspect vehicle as a blue Chevrolet Suburban or Tahoe.

APD is requesting anyone with information to contact the Homicide tip at 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or text "Tip 103" + your message to CRIMES or use the new Crime Stoppers App. 

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