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Two People Die in ‘Tragic, Isolated’ Shooting at Downtown Houston Restaurant

A man and woman were shot by a stranger, who then turned the gun on himself, while dining at Downtown Aquarium

The exterior of Downtown Aquarium, an entertainment venue and restaurant in Houston
Houston’s Downtown Aquarium
Downtown Aquarium/Facebook

Last week, two people died after what appears to be a completely random shooting at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium.

The shooting occurred on Thursday, July 8, while 28-year-old tourist Gabriel Moriones Vargas and his wife were eating dinner at the seafood restaurant and entertainment venue operated by Houston restaurant magnate Tilman Fertitta’s Landry’s Inc. Vargas’s wife, who has not been identified by police, was also shot, but survived and is recovering at a Houston hospital.

The gunman, 39-year-old Danny Cazares, died by suicide after shooting Vargas and his wife. Cazares was out on bond for multiple charges at the time of the shooting, including being a felon in possession of a weapon, according to ABC13. Per Click2Houston, Cazares was also a patron at the restaurant, and had been drinking at the bar for “several hours” before the shooting. Cazares also reportedly suffered from mental illness.

“This is a tragic, isolated incident with no relationship between the victims and suspect,” a statement from the Houston Police Department reads. “We ask our city to continue to pray for the Moriones family and all families who have suffered tragedy and loss due to gun violence.”

According to Downtown Aquarium’s website, guests are prohibited from bringing “unlicensed weapons” into the venue, but it’s unclear whether or not diners are allowed to bring licensed guns inside the restaurant. In the policy, knives are specifically prohibited, but guns are not. Eater has reached out to the restaurant for clarification on the policy, and will update this post as more details become available.

In late June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a “constitutional carry” bill into law, which now allows Texans to carry guns openly or concealed with neither or permit nor the safety training previously required under the law. As such, Texans can now carry concealed weapons without a permit, so long as the establishment they are entering does not explicitly prohibit the concealed or open carrying of guns.

Downtown Aquarium has since reopened after the shooting. “Our deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families during this difficult time,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post addressing the incident. “This was an isolated incident and a senseless tragedy by someone who appears to have been facing personal conflicts.”

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