5 things for Houstonians to know for Friday, April 23

A George Floyd mural in downtown Houston was vandalized overnight Thursday.
A George Floyd mural in downtown Houston was vandalized overnight Thursday. (KPRC)

Here are things to know for Friday, April 23:

1. Conroe man dies after falling while hiking on snowy California mountain

A Texas man has died after falling to his death while hiking California’s Mount Whitney, authorities announced Wednesday.

Saulo Sifuentes Escalante, 36, of Conroe was reported missing on Sunday when he failed to return from a Thursday day hike to the peak in the Sierra Nevada, according to a statement from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.

Search and rescue teams aided by a helicopter unsuccessfully scoured the mountain on Monday but on Tuesday used cellphone data records to pinpoint a possible location. A helicopter found Escalante dead in a steep, snowy chute south of a main trail about 11,600 feet (3,536 meters) up the mountain, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Escalante apparently had been climbing the chute when he slipped and fell, authorities said.

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2. Deshaun Watson’s accusers appear in court

Ten women that accuse Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct during a massage physically or virtually attended a status hearing in the case on Thursday.

“They are here because they have been called liars and they are not liars,” said Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing all of Watson’s accusers.

Twenty-two women are suing Watson accusing him of sexual misconduct during a massage.

Wearing masks and sunglasses, the six women who attended the hearing in person listened as the two high-profile attorneys, Rusty Hardin and Buzbee, exchanged claims accusing the other side of destroying evidence.

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3. George Floyd mural in downtown Houston vandalized with racial slur

A George Floyd mural in downtown Houston was vandalized overnight Thursday.

An unidentified person tagged the painting with a racial slur that read: “(slur) lives don’t matter.” The mural is located at the corner of Chartres and Bell.

“Ignorant people with bad hearts and bad motivations do not give them the power,” said HPD Chief Troy Finner during a press conference at the mural. “Our city has been peaceful. The verdict came in, and it was the right verdict. Some people are upset about it. But one thing, in Houston, we are going to stick together.”

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4. Sheriff: Gun used in accidental shooting that killed 16-year-old was stolen

The gun that was used during an accidental shooting Wednesday that killed a 16-year-old boy had been stolen during a break-in the night before, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said in a tweet that 17-year-old Sinardo Cooke has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting that killed 16-year-old Chase Swain about 1:20 p.m. at a vacant home on Flagstaff Lane.

Deputies said four teenagers were inside of the home playing with the gun when it went off.

Swain was taken to a hospital, where he later died, deputies said.

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5. 2nd suspect charged in shooting that killed 11-year-old boy, man in October

Houston police said charges have been filed against the second suspect accused of killing an 11-year-old boy and a man on October 26.

Dewayne Batiste, 29, has been charged with capital murder. Desmond Hawkins, 21, was charged with one count of capital murder and one count of murder in December 2020.

Both men are charged in connection with the death of 41-year-old Menuelle Solomon and 11-year-old Dominic Sumicek. The shooting was reported just about 4:25 p.m. on Oct. 26 on Old Farm Road near Westheimer Road.

Investigators said Solomon and Sumicek were in a white Mercedes when they were approached by three masked gunmen who all opened fire.

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