Christopher James DeLeon

Christopher James DeLeon

A suspect in a Temple shooting — previously charged with manslaughter — was arrested on a murder warrant Wednesday evening by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.

Christopher James DeLeon Jr., 18, was taken into custody after the warrant was issued Wednesday, Temple police spokeswoman Alejandra Arreguin said.

No bond had been set Thursday afternoon for DeLeon, who remained in custody at the Bell County Jail, online records show.

DeLeon is charged in the Feb. 24 death of 19-year-old Claire Hernandez, who died during a shooting in the 1800 block of East French Avenue. He was initially charged with manslaughter after his arrest in February.

DeLeon initially claimed that a drive-by attacker was responsible before he admitted his role to officers, according to an arrest affidavit.

DeLeon and Hernandez were sitting in his vehicle when the shooting occurred at about 12:19 a.m. in the 1800 block of East French Avenue, the affidavit said.

DeLeon “kept stating that a vehicle drove by and fired a single shot,” Temple Police Detective John Leach said in the affidavit. “He was unable to describe the vehicle to officers….He said that a car came by and then another one when he heard a shot. He then saw the victim bleeding from the face and unresponsive.”

“Chris DeLeon did not call 911 because he said he did not (mess) with cops,” Leach said in the court document.

The victim’s friend arrived after the shooting and called emergency responders.

Officers who arrived at the scene located Hernandez suffering from a gunshot wound. She was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple where she died about an hour later.

Temple officers later found a 9 mm Glock handgun about 20 feet away from DeLeon’s car, the affidavit said. Officers also found two shell casings in the vehicle, one in the front passenger seat and the other in the floorboard by the seat.

DeLeon appeared intoxicated at the scene and told police he had drinks earlier in the evening, the Temple detective said in the affidavit.

DeLeon, after he was warned by police, “confessed that he had a gun on his hip that did not have a clip inside,” Leach said in the affidavit. “He said he pulled the trigger and the gun fired. DeLeon described how he was in the driver’s seat of the car with the victim as they talked. After the gun went off, he did not realize at first that the victim had been shot.”

The death of Hernandez is the city’s second homicide of 2021, spokesman Cody Weems previously said.