Father’s Day was a somber occasion for the family of Miguel Vasquez, the 37-year-old Houston man who was shot to death in front of his young daughter as they were walking out of the local Dave & Buster’s on Easter Sunday.
But they got a small semblance of justice a few days earlier, when the man suspected of shooting Vasquez was arrested and charged with capital murder.
Nicholas Dwayne Thomas, 23, is accused of killing Vasquez during an attempted robbery in the parking lot of the Marq-E development at 7620 Katy Fwy. on the night of April 4. Vasquez’s sister, Angeles Alcantara, said she and about 20 relatives were in the courtroom when Thomas appeared before a judge on June 17.
“It’s a bittersweet moment, because they’ve got the suspect, but my brother’s not here,” Alcantara said. “That doesn’t bring him back.”
According to a report by the Associated Press, prosecutors said Thomas was identified as the suspect because of an alleged link to a shooting incident involving his 3-year-old son a few days after Vasquez’s death. Police said the bullet that struck Thomas’ son, who survived, matched a cartridge casing found near Vasquez’s vehicle, according to the report.
Thomas faces a felony charge of endangering a child in connection with the April 8 shooting incident involving his son, in which he allegedly left a loaded gun on the bathroom sink, according to Harris County court documents. Thomas was released from jail on a $1,000 bond at the time and was arrested again June 16 for his alleged role in Vasquez’s death. He remains jailed on a $150,000 bond, according to court documents.
Thomas’ next court date is June 28.
“We’ll be at every single court hearing he has,” Alcantara said.
A GoFundMe account set up by Alcantara has raised more than $11,000 for the immediate family of her brother, who is survived by a wife, a 15-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Online donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-family-of-miguel-vasquez-murdered-victim.
Alcantara said Vasquez lived in Southwest Houston and worked as a contractor with his own painting business. Her brother had celebrated a birthday less than two weeks before his death and received a Rolex watch, she said, which she suspects made Vasquez a robbery target.
According to Alcantara, Vasquez had been at Dave & Buster’s with family members, and his wife was waiting outside by a curb when Vasquez and their daughter walked together toward their vehicle. The daughter managed to escape and was unharmed physically, Alcantara said, but her father’s death has been especially difficult for her.
Alcantara said the money raised through the GoFundMe page has helped to ease the family’s pain and financial burdens.
“Everyone was really, really nice, especially to my niece,” she said. “All that money is to keep a roof over her head. (Vasquez) was the only provider. Now there’s nobody.”