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The owner of a runaway pet tiger who was filmed wandering a Houston neighborhood Sunday night faces separate charges of first-degree murder, law enforcement sources revealed.
Victor Hugo Cuevas, 28, is out on bail awaiting trial for the murder of a man in 2017 outside the Bella Terra shopping center in Richmond, west of Houston, ABC7.com reported.
Police are trying to locate Cuevas and his pet, the Bengal tiger, after the big cat was filmed wandering Ivy Wall Drive in West Houston on Saturday night.
Cuevas put the tiger in a white Jeep Cherokee and fled the scene when officers arrived Sunday night.
In a 54-second clip posted to social media, terrified residents filmed the big cat roaming freely through the quiet suburban neighborhood.
How old is Hugo Cuevas?
Victor Hugo Cuevas, age 28 year.
In the video, an off-duty Waller County sheriff’s deputy living in the neighborhood is seen pointing his gun at the tiger as he stalks towards him.
The helper takes a few steps back as the tiger approaches a few feet from where he is standing.
The owner, later confirmed by the police as Cuevas, then drags the tiger into a house.
He later fled with the animal in his Jeep when police arrived. Police chased the vehicle but soon lost sight of it.
Cuevas now faces charges of evading police, according to Commander Ronald Borza of the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division, he said.
Commander Borza said: ‘My main concern at the moment is to find him and find the tiger. What I don’t want him to do is harm the tiger.
We have many places where we can take that tiger and keep it safe, and give it a home for the rest of its life. Many times people despair and do foolish things ”.
He added, “If you see a Cherokee with a big tiger, it would be nice to call us.”
Although the state of Texas has very lax laws regarding the ownership of dangerous animals, it is illegal to keep a tiger in the city of Houston.
Officers were called to the address around 8 p.m. Sunday night after receiving reports of a tiger roaming the neighborhood.
Video images, posted online Sunday night, show that various vans and other vehicles appear to be trying to block the tiger from escaping.
“There’s a bloody Bengal tiger roaming this yard and this guy has to be careful,” a woman is heard saying in the video.
‘What the hell? Why is there a tiger?
An eyewitness capturing the images, María Torres, can be heard shouting: ‘He has a necklace. It’s someone’s pet. ‘
The person capturing the footage, which has been viewed nearly 750,000 times as of Monday morning, runs away when the tiger gets too close.
Finally, a person who appears to be the owner of the tiger emerges from a house and can be heard saying, ‘I’ll catch it, I’ll catch it.’
The man grabs the animal by the collar and leads it back to a house.
He puts the whore back inside. Fuck you and your damn tiger, ‘another man can be heard yelling at him.
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According to news reports, Cuevas was arrested on July 28, 2017 in connection with the murder of 20-year-old Oseikhuemen Omobhude, who was shot in the parking lot of the popular Sushi Hana restaurant on July 14 of that year.
Two men on motorcycles approached Omobhude and shot him several times in his car. He was able to drive a few hundred yards to seek help at a nearby Buffalo Wings restaurant, but later died at Hermann Katy Memorial Hospital.
Cuevas was arrested after the sheriff received an anonymous tip and was held on $ 750,000 bond at the Fort Bend County Jail before being released.
He was charged with first-degree murder in 2020 and is currently out on a $ 125,000 bond, ABC7.com reported. He is due to appear in court in July.
A man who appears to be the tiger’s owner appears and takes the animal back into a house
The tiger is reportedly not the only exotic animal seen on Cuevas’ rented property.
Later, neighbor José Ramos told ABC13 that he had seen a capuchin monkey at the residence before.
‘I thought,’ Okay, this is a small animal. It could be tamed. But I never thought they would have a tiger in their house. ‘
A person named Rob Wormald posted a video of the meeting between the tiger and the officer on his Twitter account.
“Apparently there is a tiger loose on my parents’ West Houston Street?” he writes.
Texas has some of the most lenient pet ownership rules in the country; however, it is illegal to possess a dangerous animal in Houston city limits.
The neighborhood where the tiger was filmed is located about 18 miles west of downtown Houston and still within the city limits.
Animal welfare activists estimate that there could be between 2,000 and 5,000 privately owned tigers in the Lone Star State, making it second only to India in tiger population.
Hugo Cuevas Quicks and Facts
- A pet tiger was filmed roaming around a West Houston neighborhood on Sunday
- Footage shows the tiger approach an off duty Sherriff’s deputy who has his gun trained on it, as terrified residents watch from their homes
- As Houston PD officers arrived on the scene, the tiger’s owner bundles the big cat into his white Jeep Cherokee and fled the scene
- Police sources have revealed the owner of the tiger is Victor Hugo Cuevas, 28, who was out on bail after being charged with murder
- Cuevas was charged with first-degree murder over the 2017 shooting of a man outside a sushi restaurant in Richmond, west of Houston
- Texas has some of the most lenient exotic pet ownership laws in the United States, but it is illegal to own a tiger in the city of Houston