Man charged in shooting of girlfriend in front of son on Christmas night

Image 1 of 2

What should have been a night of celebration instead turned into Christmas chaos.

Maria Saenz says she woke up at around 10:45 p.m. Christmas Day when she heard her 7-year-old grandson scream for help. Then she saw her 32-year-old daughter, Juana Saenz, in a pool of blood.

Police say 38-year-old Hector Chavez shot Juana in front of their 7-year-old son at the home on East Rittenhouse Street in north Houston. Chavez, Juana and their son lived at the home with Maria.

Juana’s family members tell FOX 26 News that Chavez was the shooting victim's common law husband and have been together for fifteen years. Relatives also say they are not sure what sparked the violence because they did not witness or hear an argument before hearing the multiple gunshots fired, although they do say that Chavez has hurt Juana before.

It is a situation that Chau Nguyen from the Houston Area Women’s Center says she has seen play out plenty of times.

"Domestic violence does not discriminate when it comes to the holidays,” says Nguyen. She adds that the center averages 100 calls each day for help, and those statistics don’t change during the holidays, in fact, they sometimes increase.

"We know that the holidays are stressful for anybody, not only a survivor," explains Nguyen. "We're talking about things like finances, family, alcohol consumption. All those things can lead to things getting escalated, things becoming violent."

Juana’s family members have not been able to ask her what happened on Christmas night because she is in critical condition and they have not been allowed to see her. Juana was wounded once in the abdomen and possibly in the leg also.

Chavez is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and in custody at the Harris County Jail.

If you or a family member needs help related to domestic violence, you are encouraged to contact the Houston Area Women’s Center by phone is 713- 528- 2121.