Suspect in Custody After Allegedly Fleeing Houston Suburb with Tiger, Big Cat Still on Loose: Cops
Police are asking anyone with information on the tiger to contact Houston Police Department Major Offenders at 713-308-3100.
On Monday evening, Victor Cuevas, 26, was arrested by police in Houston. Cops say Cuevas was out on bond for a separate murder charge, and now faces a charge of evading arrest, officials said.
The tiger is still on the loose, police said in a tweet Monday night.
Cuevas’ attorney, Michael Elliott, told KHOU that the tiger does not belong to his client. "He's not guilty of any crimes, he hasn't done anything wrong, and he's already been convicted," his attorney told CBS affiliate KHOU.
"HPD was in such a hurry to wrap it and find their guy that they just assumed because my client was the one who caught this tiger, who went out and got it and brought it back into safety, everyone is just assuming that he is the owner of the tiger," Elliott said, adding, "He's already been convicted, which is a shame."
On Sunday, residents of a Houston suburb were left stunned after spotting a tiger roaming its streets Sunday, according to the New York Post.
One man, later identified as an off-duty deputy, came out of his home with what appeared to be a gun and told another man who came out afterwards to get the big cat back into a house around the residential Houston area on Ivy Wall Drive at about 8 p.m., KHOU 11 and the Post reported.
“Get the f*** back inside. F*** you and your f***ing tiger,” the armed man was heard screaming as he pointed his weapon at the tiger, according to video posted to social media.
In another video, the man who came to handle the tiger, now identified by police as Cuevas, is heard saying he will get the animal, which had a collar on.
Police say that after the tiger was placed in an SUV, the suspect drove off with tiger and police gave chase.
"My main concern is focusing on finding him and finding the tiger. What I don't want him to do is harm the tiger. We have plenty of places we can take that tiger and keep it safe, and give it a home for the rest of its life," Commander Ron Borza of the Houston Police Department said in a news conference Monday. "A lot of time, people get desperate and do silly things. We want to get him and get the tiger to a safe place."
Borza said it is illegal to have a tiger in the city of Houston.
Borza said Cuevas was out on bond related to a 2017 murder charge, adding that his bond would now be revoked, CBS News reported. Elliot said Cuevas has maintained he is innocent of the murder charge and claims that he acted in self-defense, according to AP.
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