AUSTIN – Charges against a suspect in a fatal shooting that happened on Thanksgiving in 2017 have been dropped, according to police.
Hector Mario Guajardo-Garcia had originally been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with 23-year-old Samuel Charlez's death. Those charges were dropped on Jan. 23, 2018 after a living victim "decided not to cooperate with this continuing investigation and has recanted on his statement identifying Guajardo-Garcia as the shooter, to include saying he picked the wrong person out of the photo lineup he was given."
Police also said several other witnesses on the scene have come forward to say that Guajardo-Garcia was not the shooter and have described the suspect as a younger Hispanic male.
Although Guajardo-Garcia is still a person of interest in the case, Austin police said they "can’t justify keeping him in jail under the two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon."
Samuel died at around 7:10 p.m. Dec. 6 following the Nov. 23 shooting. On Dec. 7, the Travis County Medical Examiner ruled that Charlez died from gunshot trauma to the body. He was placed in a medically induced coma before his death. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
According to the initial arrest affidavit, police were called to the area of North Lamar Boulevard Nov. 23.
When they arrived, they found one man with a single gunshot wound to his arm and another man with multiple gunshot wounds to his stomach. The man with wounds in his stomach was taken via Star Flight for emergency surgery.
A witness told police that before the shooting, a blue SUV entered the parking lot where several friends -- including the victims -- were hanging out. The victims approached the SUV, and witnesses described hearing gunshots. Afterward, the driver of the vehicle slowly drove out of the parking lot, giving the witnesses a chance to look at him. No one else was inside the vehicle, witnesses said. The vehicle has been described as a Chevrolet Suburban or Tahoe.
Here is a video of the suspected vehicle released by police. Police said to "keep an eye on the top right hand corner of the video to see the SUV":
A witness told police that a few days prior to the shooting, one of the victims met Guajardo-Garcia near his residence, where the victim allegedly robbed Guajardo-Garcia during a narcotics transaction. This led the witness to believe that the victims were going to get shot, according to the affidavit.
Anyone with information is asked to call 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS.