5 things for Houstonians to know for Friday, September 17

TikTok challenge causing big problems at local schools
TikTok challenge causing big problems at local schools

Here are things to know for Friday, September 17:

1. MS-13 gang leader sentenced to life in prison for ordering 2016 murder of Houston teen

A 28-year-old leader of MS-13 was sentenced to life in prison without parole for capital murder on Thursday, announced Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

According to authorities, Omar Torres was in the Harris County Jail in 2016 when he ordered several other gang members to kill a witness who was cooperating with authorities and had implicated Torres in the deadly ambush of a rival gang member four months earlier.

“Instead of showing remorse after being arrested for gunning down someone in cold blood, this defendant doubled down and had a witness killed to cover his tracks,” Ogg said. “Someone who can take life so easily deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars without the chance of ever getting out.”

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2. 1 of 3 men accused of killing Spring couple in execution-style murder bonds out

It has been three years since the brutal murder of a couple inside their Spring home.

To this day, the children of the beloved couple are continuing to fight for justice. With one of their parents’ accused killers out on bond, the children are speaking out in hopes to be heard.

“They worked their butts off,” said Michelle Lam while remembering her mother and father Bao and Jenny Lam who were both 61-years-old when they died.

“They emphasized education and working hard and doing what’s right,” Rich Lam, 38, said.

Rich said he will never forget the love of his parents and the lessons they taught them. He said they were loving parents who worked together to own several Subway locations throughout Greater Houston.

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3. HPD using new law to crack down on those paying for sex

The day Texas’s new law regarding solicitation of prostitution went into effect, Houston police ran a sting operation in an area known as the “Bissonnet Track.”

The commander of HPD’s vice division, Jessica Anderson, said 13 so-called “Johns” were arrested. She said she now hopes word will get around that buying sex is no longer just a slap on the wrist.

“Since then, we’ve done additional operations and we’ve seen a lot fewer buyers, so we’re hopeful that initial enforcement operation sent the message,” said Anderson.

On Sept. 1, Texas became the first state to make paying for sex a felony. Anderson believes tougher penalties will help target what is fueling the sex trade.

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4. Some Houston area students destroying school bathrooms for TikTok challenge

The Magnolia Independent School District said students responsible for vandalism connected to a TikTok challenge will face discipline.

The school district said a few of its facilities have been affected by the “devious lick” challenge, which includes people removing or damaging items in restrooms.

“I’ve seen people stealing mirrors and bathroom stuff,” said student Anaye Pollard, who has seen videos from other schools.

A photo posted on Facebook on Thursday showed mirrors and soap dispensers missing at Magnolia High School. The photo was included in the comments of a post as parents discussed the issue.

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5. KPRC 2 Investigates: Are you paying for someone else’s electricity? One man found out the hard way - after discovering 7 fake accounts

No matter where you live, whether you rent or own your home, everyone has to pay for electricity. But what you may not realize is that you may be paying for someone else’s electricity. People are using stolen identification to open accounts with electricity providers. KPRC 2 Investigates reveals how electricity companies are doing very little to stop this from happening, but there are some things you should be doing to protect private information.

Thieves use social security numbers to open fake accounts

You turn off the lights when you leave a room, close your blinds to keep out the sun and adjust your thermostat to conserve energy. Craig Kooken did everything within his control to keep his electric bill low. What he couldn’t control were the thieves racking up $4,469 in his name.

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