Victor Hugo Cuevas, age 28, is on bail for the 2017 murder of a man outside a sushi restaurant in Richmond, west of Houston
The owner of an escaped pet tiger which was filmed roaming through a Houston neighborhood has been arrested but the tiger is still at large.
Victor Hugo Cuevas, 28, was already facing separate charges for first-degree murder and is on bail awaiting trial.
He ditched police in a high-speed pursuit after he bundled his tiger into a white Jeep Cherokee and fled the scene on Sunday evening.
He was taken into custody on Monday night and was charged with felony evading arrest for fleeing from patrol officers.
The Bengal tiger is still on the loose after it was filmed wandering through Ivy Wall Drive in West Houston on Saturday night.
Cuevas is awaiting trial for the 2017 murder of a man outside the Bella Terra shopping mall in Richmond, west of Houston, ABC7.com reported.
In a 54-second clip posted to social media, terrified residents filmed the big cat roaming freely around the quiet suburban neighborhood.
He was taken into custody on Monday night and was charged with felony evading arrest for fleeing from patrol officers
Law enforcement officials investigate the home where the tiger was being kept before it went on the loose
In the video, an off duty Waller County Sheriff’s deputy who lives in the neighborhood is seen pointing his gun at the tiger as it stalks towards him.
The deputy backs up a few paces as the tiger gets within a few feet of where he is standing.
The owner – later confirmed by police to be Cuevas – then drags the tiger back inside a house.
He later fled with the animal in his Jeep when cops arrived. Police pursued the vehicle but soon lost sight of it.
A tiger was on the loose in the quiet residential neighborhood of Ivy Wall Drive in West Houston on Sunday night
The tiger, identified by a neighbor as a Bengal, approaches a man with a weapon trained upon it in menacing fashion
The big cat stalks around a home in West Houston before a man who appears to be its owner appeared on the scene
Commander Borza said: ‘My main concern right now is finding him and finding the tiger. What I don’t want him to do is harm the tiger.
‘We have plenty of places we can take that tiger and keep it safe, and give it a home for the rest of its life. A lot of times people get desperate and they do silly things.’
He added: ‘If you see a Cherokee with a big tiger in it, it would be good to call us.’
While the state of Texas has very relaxed laws on ownership of dangerous animals, is illegal to keep a tiger in the city of Houston.
Officers were called to the address around 8pm on Sunday night after receiving reports of a tiger roaming the neighborhood.
Video footage, posted online on Sunday evening, shows several pickup trucks and other vehicles appear to be trying to block the tiger in to prevent it from escaping.
‘There is a freaking Bengal tiger roaming in this yard and this dude needs to be careful,’ a woman is heard saying on the video.
‘What the heck? Why is there a tiger?’
An eyewitness capturing the footage, Maria Torres, can be heard shouting: ‘It has a collar. It is somebody’s pet.’
The person capturing the footage, which has been viewed nearly 750,000 times by Monday morning, makes a run for it when the tiger gets too close.
Eventually, a person who appears to be the tiger’s owner emerges from a house and can be heard saying: ‘I’ll get him, I’ll get him.’
The man grabs the animal by the collar and takes it back into a house.
‘Get the f** back inside. F**k you and your f**king tiger,’ another man can be heard yelling at him.
According to news reports, Cuevas was arrested on July 28 2017 in connection with the murder of Oseikhuemen Omobhude, 20, who was shot in the parking lot of the popular Sushi Hana restaurant on July 14 that year.
Omobhude was approached by two men on motorcycles and shot several times in his car. He was able to drive a few hundred yards to seek help at a nearby Buffalo Wings Restaurant, but later died at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.
Cuevas was arrested after sheriff’s received an anonymous tip and held on a $750,000 bond in the Fort Bend County Jail before being released.
He was charged with first-degree murder in 2020 and is currently out on a $125,000 bond, ABC7.com reported. He is due in court in July.
The armed man gestures to residents to stay back as the tiger gets within a few feet of his position
A man grabs the animal by the collar and takes it back into a house
A man who appears to be the tiger’s owner appears and takes the animal back into a house
The tiger is reportedly not the only exotic animal which has been spotted at Cuevas’ rented property.
Neighbor Jose Ramos later told ABC13 that he had seen a capuchin monkey at the residence before.
‘I figured, OK, this is a small animal. It could be domesticated. But I never thought they would hold a tiger in their house.’
A person named Rob Wormald posted video of the encounter between the tiger and the deputy on his Twitter account.
‘Apparently there’s a tiger loose on my parents’ West Houston street?’ he writes.
Texas has some of the most lenient pet ownership rules in the country, however it is illegal to own a dangerous animal in the Houston city limits.
The neighborhood where the tiger was filmed is about 18 miles west of downtown Houston and still within its city limits.
Animal welfare activists estimate there could be between 2,000 and 5,000 privately-owned tigers in the Lone Star State – making it second only to India in tiger population.
You CAN keep a tiger as a pet in Texas… but not in Houston
Texas has some of the most lenient exotic pet ownership laws in the country.
People can own ‘dangerous wild animals’ – including lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, hyenas, bears, coyotes, baboons, chimpanzees, and gorillas – as long as they have the right paperwork.
Anyone wishing to own a dangerous animal in the state has to show they can properly cage and provide for it in order to be eligible for a permit from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Owners must submit photographs of the animal, photographs of its enclosure, and provide a statement from a licensed veterinarian verifying the animal has been inspected.
They must also have liability insurance.
However, cities and counties have their own laws on exotic pet ownership, and in Houston ownership of dangerous animals is illegal in the city limits.