HOUSTON – Bond has been set for the suspect accused of fatally shooting a man, then leaving the victim’s 2-year-old son alone to die in an extremely hot vehicle, according to authorities.
Bolanle Fadairo, a 38-year-old security guard, has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of tampering with evidence.
In an emotional interview, Mabel Essien spoke to KPRC2′s Re’Chelle Turner about her husband Michael and her 2-year-old son Micah.
3rd UPDATE: Booking photo of Bolanle Fadairo, 38, in custody and now charged with three felonies - 2 counts of murder & one count of tampering with evidence - in Tuesday's deaths of a man and child.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) September 22, 2022
More info at https://t.co/m0vrWYykRC#hounews #OneSafeHouston https://t.co/WnW2RpNdjV pic.twitter.com/iMaD6dDOPI
On Tuesday, officers responded to reports of a shooting in the 5500 block of El Camino Del Rey around 1:46 p.m.
According to investigators, Michael Essien was getting gas at a fuel station when Fadairo approached him at the pumps.
The two men got into some sort of argument and Fadairo shot Essien multiple times, police said.
The suspect then got into Essien’s black SUV and drove off with the victim’s toddler son, who was still inside the vehicle.
2nd UPDATE: The person of interest detained in the deaths of a man and child has been questioned.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) September 21, 2022
The male, 38, is now facing charges of murder and tampering with evidence.
We will release the suspect's name and booking photo once charges are filed in a court.#hounews https://t.co/WnW2RpNdjV
While police were investigating the deadly shooting, around 6:30 p.m., they received a call from a woman who reported her child and husband missing.
Police said the description the woman gave matched the victim’s description, which then prompted a search for the missing boy.
Within 30 minutes, police found the family’s SUV abandoned in the 5900 block of Elm Street, with the boy unresponsive in the back seat.
Officers and emergency personnel immediately began life-saving procedures, but the toddler was pronounced dead at the scene.
The hunt intensified for the person responsible. Police released surveillance photos of the suspect, who was described as a Black man with a slim build and facial hair, wearing a white shirt, black shorts and a Raiders hat.
That led to the identification of Fadairo, who was taken into custody on Wednesday.
According to court documents, the suspect caused the child’s death by leaving the boy restrained inside the locked vehicle while he was exposed to the sunlight, causing him to be in temperatures of over 90 degrees for a long period of time while the windows were up.
Investigators said Fadairo has admitted to the deadly shooting, saying the victim, whom he’s known for 30 years, owed him money. He also allegedly admitted to erasing text messages between the two of them after the man was murdered.
Suspect’s criminal past
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Fadairo has a criminal history, dating back to 2004. DPS records show he has been previously arrested for theft of property, assault causing bodily injury, drug possession, driving with an invalid license, evading arrest and detention, tampering with government records, and criminal trespass.
One woman who lives at the apartment complex where Fadairo once worked told KPRC 2 that Fadairo threatened to “do something,” but she wasn’t sure if he was serious.
Additionally, KPRC 2 learned Fadairo had previously worked at a barbershop in West Houston on South Dairy Ashford Road for about a year.
The owner, Shonette Jackson, described him as a quiet and reserved employee who also caused trouble around the shop, sometimes sleeping there, having his car fixed in the parking lot, and buying a dog in the parking lot that he brought into the shop.
Eventually, Jackson decided to fire him, which she said he didn’t take lightly.
“He was very angry. He was arguing, and he was saying, ‘I feel like hitting somebody,’” Jackson said.
After his termination, Jackson said he kept returning to the area every few days until eventually returning about four months later with a gun, shooting at the windows.
“The windows were broken, and there were bullet shots in the shop,” Jackson said.
Employees believed it was Fadairo who did it – based on the description of the suspect from witnesses and a car in the lot at the time of the incident.
No one was injured but it was reported to the Houston Police Department back in August.
HPD confirmed an open case of reckless deadly conduct by firearm at the barbershop address, but a spokesperson said that no arrests were made.
A former coworker, who asked KPRC 2 not to use his name, said he tracked down and shared with police evidence that he believes would have led investigators right to Fadairo, including surveillance, car information that matched what a witness told police, and Fadairo’s whereabouts.
“If they would have listened to the things that we had and the things that we told. They could’ve saved those lives,” the former coworker said.
Jackson said twice investigators told her they didn’t have enough manpower to go after Fadairo.
“The third time when I talked to the police, they told me, ‘Well, everybody’s bonding out real quick anyways, so there’s no reason for us to pick him up,’” she added.
Jackson says she knows the victim, Michael Essien, who she described as a stand-up man, and was heartbroken to see the news of his murder.
“If they would’ve arrested him then, he wouldn’t have been on the streets,” she said.