Man accused of killing teen girl found dead in Whataburger parking lot appears before judge

By Alex Green - Content Editor, Jonathan Martinez - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A man arrested in connection with the slaying of a teenage girl found shot to death inside a car outside a Whataburger in north Houston appeared before a judge Thursday.

Gabriel Ray Cantu, 18, was picked up by Houston police and U.S. marshals Wednesday evening at his grandmother's house on Fawn Lane in northeast San Jacinto County.

He is accused of killing 15-year-old Victoria C. Cantu.  The two are not related.

According to documents read in probable cause court, Gabriel Cantu was participating in "Slab Sunday," a weekly amateur car show event on Jan. 4.   At the makeshift car show, people gather in large parking lots and drive around in circles, showing off their vehicles.  It is also well known for gang activity.

Surveillance video shows that Victoria Cantu and her two friends were driving through the parking lot in a red Acura when they were cut off by a silver Mustang. The Mustang, along with a silver Malibu and a gray or gold Toyota Camry , began pursuing the Acura in the parking lot.

Gabriel Cantu was a passenger in the Malibu and was seen hanging out of the window with an assault rifle.  He began firing several rounds at the Acura, investigators said.

One of the rounds traveled through the trunk of the Acura and into the back seat, striking Victoria Cantu in the back.  Her friends drove to a Whataburger restaurant on Airtex Boulevard, where she was pronounced dead.

Gabriel Cantu went into hiding after the shooting.  After surveillance video was released, tips began to flood in which led to him being identified as the suspect.

Witnesses came forward and told police that he hiding out at his grandmother's house and was trying to raise enough money to flee to Mexico, documents state.

A leader at the church the family attended told investigators that Gabriel Cantu's mother confessed to a priest her son's involvement with the shooting.

When authorities went to arrest the suspect, he ran into the woods, but was found and taken into custody.

Bond for Gabriel Cantu was set at $250,000.

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