A 17-year-old New Braunfels man has been arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of his 16-year-old sister, police said Sunday afternoon.
Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, New Braunfels police and fire responders were called to a residence in the 600 block of Sumner Circle, off Farm-to-Market Road 1101, for a reported shooting, said David Ferguson, New Braunfels Police Department communications coordinator.
Officers there discovered the body of a 16-year-old girl, Gabrielle Barrera, who had suffered a gunshot wound from a handgun. A Comal County justice of the peace pronounced her dead at the scene and ordered an autopsy, Ferguson said.
After several hours of investigation, including interviews with witnesses at the scene, her brother, Zachary Barrera, 17, was taken into custody. He was transported to Comal County Jail and charged with first-degree murder early Sunday morning. He remained there under $250,000 bond Sunday afternoon.
Gabrielle Barrera was an 11th-grade student at Canyon High School. Casey Whittle, school principal, extended sympathy to the family from faculty, staffers and the Comal Independent School District, which sent a letter to parents Sunday afternoon.
“We encourage you to be especially sensitive and prepared to offer support to your child during this time,” Whittle said. “Grief counselors will be on campus to help our school community deal with this loss. We will do everything that we can to help your child and our staff through this tragic experience.
“Over the next few days, please encourage your child to express his or her feelings and listen attentively,” Whittle added. “It will be helpful to recognize the various steps that we all go through in the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
“If you have any concerns regarding your child’s reaction, please contact your child’s teacher, school counselor or any member of the administrative staff.”
Ferguson said the incident remains under investigation.