FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – A man was sentenced Friday to life in prison after he was convicted of murdering a man at a Stafford Walmart in December 2014.
Officials said Cristhian Cardozo, 35, was in his vehicle in the parking lot of the store around 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 as his family -- his wife, 9-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son -- was shopping when two men approached his wife and children and an argument ensued.
The Cardozo family attempted to distance themselves from the two men and called the father, who was still in the parking lot, to help escort them to their vehicle, officials said.
The two men and another individual approached the family and attempted to attack Cardozo's 14-year-old son, officials said.
Witnesses reported that a fistfight began, Cardozo was knocked to the ground, and Jason Lara, 18, pulled out a gun and fired four shots at Cardozo, striking him three times.
During their investigation, officials were able to identify Lara as the gunman. Officials said the two other men involved in the fight told them Lara admitted to shooting Cardozo and even told them the bullet "was really meant for the kid."
During the trial, it was revealed that Lara was a member of the street gang Southwest Cholos. However, officials said the murder did not appear to be related to any gang business.
Lara was found guilty by a jury in Fort Bend County and sentenced to life in prison.
"The jury sent a clear message to this criminal defendant and to any criminal that murders innocent people .... You will pay a heavy price for the life you take," Assistant District Attorney Chris DeLozier said.