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The murder of 11-year-old awakens citizen movement in Houston

A collective sense of outrage over the death of Josué Flores has stirred up his Latino community
26 May 2016 – 6:24 PM EDT

HOUSTON, Texas -The cries of Josué Flores as he was being stabbed in a brutal attack by an unknown person were heard only by neighbors May 17. Nobody got there in time to save him.

Two weeks later his cries are galvanizing residents of the mixed race community where he was born and raised, wanting to know who killed the sixth grader as he walked home after a school science club meeting.

Adults and children, Latinos and African Americans living in the Northside neighborhood where the murder occurred, have marched through the streets demanding justice. They are angry and afraid, but most of all they feel forgotten.

That has not stopped them raising their voices to denounce the insecurity and impunity in their community. The elderly complain of constant theft, mothers describe being afraid to leave their homes after sun down, and children say its not safe to play in the streets.

This collective sense of a citizen movement in a Latino community is something new in the city.

"... I have never seen anything like this. It is unfortunate that something like this had to happen to really unite a community," said an amazed Ed González, former deputy mayor of Houston, who grew up in the neighborhood.

González said the crime has led to more coordination and action by various entities, such as the Houston school district, the police and other community groups. "We want to continue this energy both to honor the memory of Josué as well as to improve the community."

González, along with other city leaders participated in a march to protest Joshua's death last Sunday in the Northside neighborhood.

The march started at the spot he was killed and was atended by dozens of neighborhood residents, of all ages and races, carrying white balloons, flowers and gifts.

"We will continue to seek justice until we see that the culprit is in jail," said an agitated Consuelo Martínez a neighborhood activist.

The authorities have yet to dentify the murderer, described as a black male, 25 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing 180 to 200 pounds. Police initially arrested and charged a suspect with murder. But two days later they admitted that they had the wrong man saying he had a solid alibi.

"What are the authorities waiting for? For another attack? The murderer is free, on the streets," Martínez, claimed.

Guadalupe Flores, Joshua older sister, asked if anyone in the community knew something to come forward. "He's my brother and I want to say something ... I know it will not change anything, but it will bring attention to this situation," she said.

Waiting for results

ressure from Northside neighborhood residents has drawn a response from the authorities and private groups.

At a press conference on Monday the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, accompanied by the interim police chief, Martha Montalvo, said all resources are being used to track down Josués murderer. But he warned that community participation was key to the investigation.

"I think there's someone out there who knows something about the person who committed this crime, and I am asking that person to think of the child's family, to think about this community," Turner said.

The district attorney, Devon Anderson, added; "There is a monster who is out among us. You may know who he is Your conscience needs to be your guide."

Authorities say they are awaiting the results of DNA tests that could provide clues to the murderer and have offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect.


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