A Quick-Thinking Family Helped Texas Officers Solve A Murder In Two Days

It took just over 48 hours for officers to arrest a man who would later be convicted of a cold-blooded shooting at point-blank range.

José Pina, pictured here smiling, was found shot to death on March 30, 2019.

It took just over 48 hours for officers to arrest a man who would later be convicted of a cold-blooded shooting at point-blank range.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Murder Tapes")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Murder Tapes")

Officers with the Bryan, Texas Police Department raced to the scene of a shooting on W. Virginia St on March 30, 2019. A frantic man called at 3:26 p.m. to say his cousin was shot and dying.

At the scene, police found José Pina sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle. He had been shot through the chest, and his brother had both hands through the window, trying to hold pressure on José’s wound.

Medics did what they could to try and save José, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. His brother told police that his cousin and José had been talking when a white man in a black shirt with a bandana over his face approached them. After taking his cousin’s wallet, the man shot José and then fled. In the chaos, the cousin had disappeared from the scene, but family members assumed he was chasing the shooter and gave police his contact information so they could find him later.

As the authorities gathered evidence, they found a single spent shell casing about 10 feet in front of the sedan where José was shot. They also looked around the area, trying to gauge what might be the easiest, fastest route for someone to escape the area quickly. Astute detectives found some foot skid marks in the dirt near a thick growth of brush, and they summoned a K9 officer to the scene to see if he could catch the scent.

The dog led officers through the brush and onto some nearby railroad tracks before he lost the scent, but there was one vital clue recovered — a single flip-flop along the path, and officers believed it could belong to the suspect.

A Family Gets To Work

Police weren’t the only people hot on the trail of José’s killer. His cousin and sister were doing their investigation as they stalked social media and asked around to see if they could figure out who shot the 23-year-old man.

The cousin agreed to speak to police, telling them that he didn’t recognize the shooter, but it seemed as if José recognized him before he was shot. The cousin also let police in on another vital piece of evidence — some drug sales were happening in the neighborhood, and José had a large amount of cash in the car that he refused to hand over to the masked gunman when confronted. It was precious little information for officers, but the cousin said he would keep an ear out for more.

Meanwhile, José’s sister brought a notebook full of things she’d heard about or read on social media as she tried to figure out who shot her little brother. She brought a name to the officers: they should be looking for a man named Johnny.

Watch as officers follow the tracks to find who shot José Pina on The Murder Tapes on ID at 10/9c on Nov. 1. More episodes are available now on discovery+.

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