‘Horribly tragic incident’: Couple shot at Downtown Aquarium posted video on social media showing shooter sitting few feet away

Accused gunman was drinking at bar for ‘several’ hours before incident, sources say

2 men were killed, including the suspect, and a woman was injured

HOUSTON – Two men are dead, including the suspect, and a woman was injured following a shooting at the Downtown Aquarium restaurant Thursday evening, police said.

Officers responded to the shooting on the second floor of the aquarium around 8:10 p.m.

HPD Executive Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard said 29-year-old Gabriel Vargas and his 24-year-old wife were at the restaurant’s bar having dinner during their visit to Houston when the suspect, who was sitting at the opposite end of the bar, got up and started firing shots at the married couple before turning the gun on himself.

The suspect, later identified as 39-year-old Danny Cazares, and Vargas was pronounced dead on the scene. Vargas’ wife was shot in the leg and transported to the hospital in stable condition, police said.

According to KPRC 2 sources, the shooting appeared to have been a random incident. Cazares was sitting at the bar by himself drinking for several hours before the shooting occurred, sources said. Investigators said the couple did not know Cazares. The motive for the shooting is unknown at this time.

On social media, the couple shared several pictures and videos of their visit to the restaurant. In one video, Cazares could be seen sitting just a few feet away from the couple at the bar.

“You know, this is a horribly tragic incident, and you know this is the type of situation that should make us all pause, send out as many prayers as we can for all the families and all the lives that would be affected,” he said.

Records show Cazares was out on bond for a gun charge back in April. According to court records, Cazares’ niece called police to a restaurant in Richmond saying he was “high on meth and had a pistol.” Police found Cazares “seated at the bar with a loaded pistol in his pocket,” according to court records. Cazares was then arrested and charged.

Court records also show that in October 2020, Cazares was charged with criminal mischief for trashing a motel room. Court records say Cazares thought someone was inside his motel room so he trashed it while trying to find the person.

Also, on Christmas Eve, Cazares was found wandering around the Cy-Fair Fire Departments’ bunkhouse, according to court records. Cazares was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Court records show he also went through a mental health evaluation at the time of his arrest.

Anyone with additional information on this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at (713) 308-3600.