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Man, 21, charged with murder for 'shooting dead his former girlfriend on a Texas freeway'


Mann Austin Hayes (pictured in mugshot) has now been charged with murder in Harris County, Texas

Mann Austin Hayes (pictured in mugshot) has now been charged with murder in Harris County, Texas

A man who allegedly shot dead his ex-girlfriend when he spotted her and her current boyfriend driving down a Texas freeway was charged with murder.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office revealed that Mann Austin Hayes, 21, was in custody after the death of 20-year-old Julie De La Garza.

Hayes was initially charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but that charge was upgraded after Garza succumbed to her injuries.

The shooting happened on Sunday along the Northwest Freeway near Spring Cypress.

Authorities said Garza was riding in a vehicle with her current boyfriend when Hayes allegedly pulled up behind the couple and discharged his weapon.

‘The boyfriend of the female stated they had been driving in the area when her ex-boyfriend began following them and then shot through the back window of the truck, striking De La Garza in the head,’ a press release stated.

Pictured: Julie De La Garza

Pictured: Julie De La Garza

Julie De La Garza (left and right) died as a Texas hospital on Monday after she was shot in the head the day before 

Pictured: The back window of the boyfriend's truck is shattered after Hayes allegedly opened fire at the vehicle

Pictured: The back window of the boyfriend’s truck is shattered after Hayes allegedly opened fire at the vehicle

 The boyfriend desperately rushed an unresponsive Garza to an ER clinic, where she was flown via Life Flight to Memorial Hermman and eventually died.

Authorities originally believed the incident was an act of road rage. 

Photos shared by Cy-Fair Fire Department showed emergency crews and ambulances converged at the crime scene.

Red tape roped off the area as Garza was placed on a medical gurney and responders tended to her.

Cy-Fair Fire Department shared photos of emergency crews at the scene where Garza was wounded on Sunday

Cy-Fair Fire Department shared photos of emergency crews at the scene where Garza was wounded on Sunday

Medical and emergency crews gathered around Garza, who was placed in a gurney and transported to a medical center

Medical and emergency crews gathered around Garza, who was placed in a gurney and transported to a medical center

Red and yellow tape block of the crime scene where the vehicle of Garza's boyfriend sat after she was shot on Sunday

Red and yellow tape block of the crime scene where the vehicle of Garza’s boyfriend sat after she was shot on Sunday

As authorities tended to Garza, Hayes fled the scene and a manhunt was launched as he evaded arrest

As authorities tended to Garza, Hayes fled the scene and a manhunt was launched as he evaded arrest 

By the time authorities arrived, Hayes had fled the scene and left behind his white Toyota in a parking lot. 

A manhunt was lunched as Hayes evaded arrest, but he turned himself in on Wednesday afternoon, KHOU 11 reports. 

The publication added that a judge set Hayes’ bail at $250,000. 

If paid, KHOU reports Hayes will be required to wear a GPS monitor, cannot possess firearms, surrender his passport, have no contact with the Garza’s family or her boyfriend and he will have a curfew from 8pm to 8am.

The staggering bail was set after the judge discovered Hayes was on probation for a separate aggravated assault case from March 2020. He’s on probation for a drug-related charge, too 

A GoFundMe was created by a family member on Tuesday and has raised $11,050 of its $20,000 goal. The money will go towards funeral expenses.

Authorities initially believed the shooting incidnet was related to road rage. Pictured: the damaged vehicle of Garza's boyfriend

Authorities initially believed the shooting incidnet was related to road rage. Pictured: the damaged vehicle of Garza’s boyfriend 

‘Julie was a loving daughter, sister, aunt, friend and neighbor. Despite all of the challenges she had to face from losing her mother at only 18 yrs old, Julie maintained a strong and positive outlook on life,’ an accompanying message read.

‘Our sister has left a huge loss in the lives of all whom she knew, she will be missed dearly. Our family is in need of many prayers for strength, peace and grace to move forward and any financial assistance which can help cover the cost of this great loss.’

The message added that one of Garza’s wishes was to be an organ donor ‘to give the ultimate gift of live.’

‘As a family we honored her wish and it has provided a sense of peace to know that she will live on providing life to others in need.

‘Her last act of selflessness and contribution to this world.’    

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