A murder suspect out on bond has been apprehended after going on the run with his pet Bengal tiger who was found running loose Sunday in a Houston neighborhood.
What are the details?
Several videos began circulating online from witnesses in a West Houston neighborhood, showing what one onlooker observed was an adult “freakin’ Bengal tiger” crouched in a yard, wearing a collar.
Multiple videos show a man wearing a black shirt — later reported to be an off-duty sheriff’s deputy — holding a gun on the beast, poised to shoot, but he does not. In one, he tells the purported owner of the predator, “F*** you and your f***ing tiger. Get the f*** back inside.”
But later video shows the presumed owner walking the tiger back to a residence as the deputy (with his gun lowered) yells repeatedly, “GET THE TIGER BACK INSIDE!”
In clips obtained by ABC News, a child can be heard asking, “There’s a tiger in the neighborhood? Like, why would he even be here?”
Fox News reported that once deputies arrived, the owner of the tiger loaded the big cat into a white Jeep Cherokee and fled. Officers took chase, but the Jeep got away.
According to Buzzfeed News, Houston police later identified the tiger owner as Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, who was out on bond after facing a murder charge from an unrelated incident in November.
The outlet noted that “fleeing from police and being in possession of the tiger could violate his bond terms.” Tigers are not allowed within the city limits of Houston. Authorities are also seeking two monkeys Cuevas is believed to own.
“My main concern right now is focusing on finding him and finding the tiger because what I don’t want him to do is harm that tiger. We have plenty of places we can take that tiger and keep it safe and give it a home for the rest of its life,” Houston Police Commander Ron Borza said during a news conference Monday.
“If that tiger was to get out and start doing some damage yesterday, I’m sure one of these citizens would have shot the tiger,” Borza added. “We have plenty of neighbors out here with guns and we don’t want to see that. It’s not the animal’s fault. It’s the breeder’s fault. It’s unacceptable.”
The landlord of the property where the tiger and monkeys are believed to have been kept reportedly told KHOU-TV that the tenants initially told him they did not own any pets, and he has begun the eviction process.
ABC News reported late Monday that Cuevas “is now in custody, according to Houston police, but the ‘whereabouts of the tiger are not yet known.'” Police said Cuevas was charged Monday afternoon with felony evading police.