A Houston-area teenager is being held in jail on bonds totaling $4 million after allegedly shooting three other teenagers and a 12-year-old with a pellet gun as they were walking home from school earlier this month in northwest Harris County.
Jordan Constantine Balderas, 17, of Cypress, was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Harris County court records show. Magistrate Judge Joy Thomas on Thursday set Balderas' bail at $1 million for each count – twice the amount requested by prosecutors for the Harris County District Attorney's Office – writing in her bond order that the amount was "necessary to (reasonably) ensure safety of (the victims) and community."
"This offender was a menace to kids walking home from school," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote Thursday on Twitter. "Multiple juveniles were shot with a pellet gun/rifle."
Two of the court-appointed defense attorneys who have represented Balderas in the case did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, court records show.
The four victims were shot during a five-day span just east of the intersection of North Fry Road and Rustic Lake Lane in Cypress, according to Senior Deputy Thomas M. Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, who said two were walking home from nearby Cypress Springs High School and the other two were walking home from nearby Hopper Middle School. Court records show that Balderas lives just east of the intersection of North Fry Road and Rustic Lake Lane, and Gilliland said Balderas allegedly carried out the shootings from his backyard.
Pellet-gun shooter in NW Harris County is identified and charged with three shooting offenses occurring on May 4th, 5th, and 8th. This offender was a menace to kids walking home from school. Multiple juveniles were shot with a pellet gun/rifle. On 5/4 a 17-yr-old female was
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) May 11, 2023
Gilliland said he did not know if Balderas attends one of the nearby schools, which both are part of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Court documents show Balderas works part-time as a grocery store cashier.
School district spokesperson Leslie Francis did not answer emailed questions seeking to determine if Balderas is a student in Cy-Fair ISD and if the district has taken any actions in response to the pellet-gun shootings, saying they "occurred off campus." She otherwise deferred to the sheriff's office for information about the matter.
A 17-year-old girl was shot in the neck on May 4, according to a tweet by Gonzalez, who said two more air rifle shootings occurred May 5, when a 14-year-old girl was shot in the head and a 12-year-old boy was shot in the shoulder. A 16-year-old girl was shot in the head on May 8, Gonzalez said.
The victims were targeted at random, according to a court filing by the Harris County District Attorney's Office, which alleges that Balderas bought the .22-caliber pellet rifle that was used in the shootings.
If Balderas posts bail and is released from jail, he is ordered to remain under continuous house arrest while wearing an electronic monitoring device, according to court documents, which also show he must not use or possess a weapon of any kind and must avoid contact with anyone under the age of 17. He "may not reside, go in, on or within 1,000 (feet) of premises where children commonly gather," court documents show.