Man wanted in Snapchat shooting videos case turns himself in

Woman also arrested in connection with case

HOUSTON – The man wanted in connection with Snapchat videos showing two people indiscriminately firing guns in Houston turned himself in to authorities Tuesday.

Michael Anthony Cuellar, 29, showed up at the courthouse Tuesday morning with an attorney after a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of deadly conduct was issued last week.

He posted his $400,000 bond, but made a court appearance late Tuesday afternoon, according to authorities.

Cuellar looked very different from his older mugshot as he walked into Harris County court with his attorney, Paul Looney.

Looney called the case a "media-created crime," and said the incident is not felonious.

"I don't think he would have been arrested without the video," Looney said. "To that extent, it hurts us, but it absolutely helps enormously to prove that it's not a felony."

VIDEO: Cuellar turns himself in

Sierra Tarbutton, 27, who investigators said is the woman seen in the video, was arrested Monday morning and made her first court appearance Monday afternoon. She was also charged with deadly conduct.

Tarbutton’s attorney said the incident has been blown out of proportion.

Houston Police Department's Chief Art Acevedo called the suspects fools. He said investigators were able to identify the pair through matching content on social media and Redditt.

"When I saw it online, I immediately reached out to our chief and all the chiefs. We were already on it," Acevedo said.

VIDEO: Tarbutton makes first court appearance

“The allegations are that they were shooting at inanimate objects. From what I understand, there wasn’t anyone anywhere near where they were shooting,” said Clay Conrad, Tarbutton’s attorney.

"This is just a disorderly conduct. This is media-created felony; it's not going to be a media-created result," said Cuellar's attorney, Paul Looney.

Prosecutors objected because Tarbutton was already serving six years' deferred adjudication for harassing a police officer and threatening an officer’s children in 2015.

Tarbutton was placed on probation in September 2016.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine what a video does. These people thought they were funny," Acevedo said. "People need to understand that they weren't just shooting into the air, they were shooting at actual property and recklessly endangering members of our community."

VIDEO: Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on the Snapchat shooting case

"The bullets were right next to my house," said Mohammed Ali, a neighbor along Memorial Drive.

"This is Memorial Drive right here, and a lot of the walls are down because of the flooding," said Ali, pointing at a wall near the road. "It came right through here. If you see the video, you can see a lot of it because of these lights."

"We take dangerous conduct, reckless conduct, deadly conduct seriously and when you're foolish enough to put it on social media, I assure you that the police department, the sheriff's department and all of our public safety department are constantly looking at social media looking for these fools," said Acevedo.

Acevedo said the homicide and Westside tactical units along with the Harris County Sheriffs Office worked together.

VIDEO: Pair shoots guns from cars in Snapchat videos

"Thanks to some really good police work we were able to identify a suspect," said Acevedo.

Police thanked KPRC's Jonathan Martinez for turning in the shell casings he found around businesses.

Ali said he is happy police have found their suspects.

"I'm glad they were caught and they can't do much more harm," said Ali.

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About the Authors:

Galveston-born, award-winning journalist, dog owner, foodie & occasional golfer.