Huffpost Crime

Jose Banda, Drunk Driver, Shot After Drunk-Driving Crash Kills Caleb And David Baraja

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12-year-old David and 11-year-old Caleb Baraja were struck and killed by a drunk driver as they helped their father push their car, which had run out of gas. | KTRK

ALVIN, Texas — Mourners packed a memorial service Wednesday for two young brothers who were killed by a suspected drunk driver while helping their father push the family's broken-down pickup truck down a dark, narrow road just 50 yards from their rural Houston-area home last week.

Meanwhile, Brazoria County sheriff's investigator Dominick Sanders said detectives had "no formal suspects" in the fatal shooting at the scene of Friday night's crash of Jose Banda, the 20-year-old driver who plowed into brothers David and Caleb Barajas and their father, David Barajas Sr. Banda's death has been ruled a homicide, but Sanders said investigators hadn't interviewed the boys' father, who was injured, or their mother, Cindy Barajas, who was in the truck with the couple's 8-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son.

"We hope to be able to talk to (the Barajas family) soon," said Sanders, adding that the sheriff's office is trying to locate anyone else who may have been at the scene.

Sanders said investigators are trying to find the gun used to kill Banda, but he declined to say whether they tested the couple that night for gunshot residue or conducted other forensic testing. Investigators believe Banda had been drinking before the crash, and they're awaiting the results of blood tests on him.

David Jr., 12, died at the scene and Caleb, 11, died at a hospital. Neighbors said they heard two gunshots minutes after the crash, which happened about 50 yards from the Barajas' home near Alvin, about 30 miles southeast of Houston.

Relatives at the Barajas home declined to comment about the case. Family and friends who packed the funeral home for Wednesday's service spoke of the brothers' love of sports and their family.

Their uncle, Gabriel Barajas, said David and Caleb were "inseparable" and "playful." Caleb's nickname was the "Big C" and Gabriel Barajas said both boys were big fans of the Houston Texans. Many of those at the service wore Texans jerseys in honor of the boys.

Paloma Hernandez, who lives across the street from the Barajas family, said she often played basketball with the brothers in their driveway. She described David Jr. as outgoing and his brother as "kind of shy."

"They were good boys. They were a tight knit family," said Hernandez, 15, who wore a T-shirt she had made with images of the brothers on the front and back and the phrase, "In Loving Memory."

At the crash site, people had set up a makeshift memorial for the brothers that included two white crosses, flowers, stuffed animals and a football. Neighbors said the rural area where the accident happened is made up of narrow roads that are not very well lit.

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