Update 12:45 pm: Police announced today that charges have been dropped against Che Calhoun, who was evidently identified by an eyewitness who was mistaken. According to police, Calhoun gave a detailed alibi after his arrest. Read more about why authorities dropped charges here.
The day after 11-year-old Josue Flores was stabbed to death while walking home from school, Acting Police Chief Martha Montalvo said what most Houstonians who saw the news were likely already thinking: that this case was so horrifying because Flores was not only an innocent bystander, but an innocent child. “This incident should not have happened,” she said.
She's all too correct.
One day before Che Calhoun was accused of killing Flores, on Fulton near James Street in north Houston, Calhoun got in a fight at a Metro light-rail station. On Monday, two Metro police officers chased after Calhoun, Tasing him twice. But even though they called the Houston Police Department for backup, as a Metro spokeswoman told the Houston Chronicle, Calhoun managed to escape. He left his wallet at the scene.
One day later, just a few blocks away, Flores was killed.
With the help of several eyewitnesses and tips, U.S. Marshals apprehended Calhoun Wednesday across town, on the southeast side of Houston. Family could identify no motive, as the sixth-grader had no valuable belongings in his backpack and was simply on his way home after staying late at Marshall Middle School for a science club party. On Wednesday, family and community members and fellow students walked along the street where Flores died, retracing his last steps, some wearing handmade "RIP Josue" T-shirts. His sister, addressing the crowd, said, "Some of y'all may have known my brother. He was nice, kind. He didn't even bother anyone. He didn't deserve to die like this."
Che Calhoun, 31, has been arrested and charged with six other crimes in Harris County in the past four years, some of them violent. Aside from his most recent evading arrest charge before the stabbing, he has been convicted of assaulting a family member twice in three months in 2013 — hitting, head-butting and biting his girlfriend — and violating the protective order that came with the first. He has been convicted twice of making terroristic threats, once for threatening to stalk and assault a public servant, and most recently, last October, for threatening to beat up another man. In that most recent case, a judge also ordered that his mental health records be released to his attorney, though it is unclear what, if any, mental illness Calhoun suffered from.
Another vigil will be held for Josue Flores at 2 p.m. this afternoon at Marshall Middle School, where counselors and faculty will try to help his classmates make sense of his death.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.