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Records: San Benito teen shoots, kills childhood friend

Ramon Saldivar, 18, was charged with manslaughter, a second-degree felony on Monday. (Photo courtesy of the Cameron County Sheriff's Office)

Cameron County Sheriff’s deputies arrested an 18-year-old San Benito man after he shot and killed his childhood friend Monday evening, according to an affidavit.

Ramon Saldivar, 18, was charged with manslaughter, a second-degree felony on Monday.

Saldivar shot and killed Francisco Cortinas, 17, after they were holding a .40 caliber handgun and joking around after school, according to the affidavit. The gun was left behind by another friend who was not home at the time of the shooting.

Saldivar claimed that he, the victim, and another friend were hanging out, smoking marijuana, and passing the gun around, according to the affidavit.

“Ramon then stated he raised up the .40 caliber handgun with his right arm and cocked the slide back,” the affidavit states. “Ramon then stated that he didn’t think the clip was fully in the gun and thought the slide had not gone back enough for a bullet to go in the chamber.”

However, a bullet was in the chamber when Ramon pointed the gun at Cortinas and pulled the trigger, according to the affidavit.

Saldivar said he saw that he shot Cortinas on the right side of his chest and then hid the gun under a sofa, according to the affidavit.

The unidentified friend who was at the scene then left to tell Cortinas’s dad that his son had been shot. Meanwhile, Saldivar called 911 and told a dispatcher that he shot Cortinas, according to the affidavit.

Saldivar told deputies that he and the victim had been friends since elementary school and did not mean to shoot him, according to the affidavit.

The victim was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Saldivar’s bond was set at $125,000 on the second-degree felony charge of manslaughter.

Following the shooting, San Benito Consolidated Independent School District released this statement:

San Benito CISD is mourning the loss of a San Benito High School senior who passed away last night. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Adrian Vega said that school officials are providing assistance to San Benito High School in an effort to help them cope with the loss.
"We want to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our student. Our hearts go out to the entire school-community at this time,” Dr. Vega said. “We urge parents to talk to their children and acknowledge their feelings of grief and sadness. We will provide counseling to students and staff members.”
San Benito High School Principal Henry Sanchez said members of his administrative team, together with counseling teams from the campus and throughout the district, are providing support and comfort.
“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the family on the loss of this young life,” said Sanchez. “At this time we are providing counseling to students at our campus to help them cope with this sudden loss. We are doing everything that we can to provide comfort and assistance to our students and staff during this time of grief.”
There is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department. As such, further details related to the incident are not available at this time.

Saldivar remained in the Cameron County jail Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.

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