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Ex-boyfriend arrested in fatal shooting of woman in Cypress; charges upgraded to murder

CYPRESS, Texas – The man accused of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend in Cypress has been taken into custody without incident on Wednesday, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Ed Gonzales announced.

The charges against Mann Austin Hayes have been upgraded to murder, according to Gonzales. The initial charge was aggravated assault.

Authorities said the victim, 20-year-old Julie Dela Garza, died on Monday.

While officials previously reported that the incident was related to road rage, officials said Garza and her current boyfriend were driving in a truck when her ex-boyfriend, who has been identified as Hayes, began shooting.

The woman was struck in the head, police said.

Mann Austin Hayes
Mann Austin Hayes (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)
Picture of shooting victim, Julie Dela Garza.
Picture of shooting victim, Julie Dela Garza. (KPRC 2)

Investigators said the couple drove to an HCA Houston ER clinic near the Northwest Freeway and Fry Road, which was five minutes away from where the shooting occurred. The truck was discovered at the ER with the back window blown out.

Cy-Fair Fire Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call after 2 p.m. Investigators said the emergency crew conducted CPR on Garza and were able to get a pulse. Garza was flown via Life Flight to a hospital where she later died.

“I just want justice for Julie and I just want him to come forward,” said Garza’s sister, who did not want her name revealed.

She said her sister had her whole life ahead of her.

“I just want him to come forward so the investigation can continue and my sister can rest in peace,” Garza’s sister said.

Hayes' vehicle, a white Toyota, was located a short distance from the scene of the shooting. It had been parked in the parking lot of the business complex at Skinner and the Northwest Freeway.

Court records show Hayes was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault in November of last year. The court deferred adjudication and granted him three years of community supervision, according to the documents.

Anyone with information on Hayes’ whereabouts is encouraged to contact the HCSO Homicide Unit or Crime Stoppers of Houston.

Garza’s sister created a GoFundMe account to help her family cover funeral expenses.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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