Watch CBS News

Slain SMU Student Jaden Urrea's Family Calls Killing 'Drive-By Shooting, Unprovoked, Committed By Complete Strangers'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The family of slain Southern Methodist University student Robert "Jaden" Urrea are speaking out about his death in the early morning hours on Halloween.

Jaden's father, Dr. Robert Urrea sent CBS 11 News the following statement.

We, Dr. Robert Urrea and Patricia Urrea, are very saddened to confirm that our son Jaden was the victim of a fatal shooting early on the morning of October 31st in Dallas. Jaden was a sophomore at SMU where he transferred this year. On Friday night, Jaden joined other students at a Halloween party at a venue in downtown Dallas. After the party, Jaden spoke briefly with family on his phone and was arranging for a ride share back to campus. As he walked from the venue, video surveillance captured the very difficult next few moments.

Two individuals in a white sedan are recorded driving recklessly with headlights off, running a red light. At one point the sedan pulls over just past an intersection where Jaden is crossing. As Jaden passes behind the car, video shows some communication that captures his attention. As Jaden turns toward the car, he was maliciously shot in the chest at close range. We strongly believe this was a drive-by shooting, unprovoked, committed by complete strangers.

A witness called 911, but our son was pronounced dead at the scene. The murderers are still at large, and our family is working closely with the Dallas Police Department to bring them to justice, and more urgently prevent them from hurting others. Our family is working with Crime Stoppers to offer a substantial reward for information that leads to the indictment of the responsible individuals.

Jaden had found a home at SMU and was thriving. Our family saw him blossoming as a student, maturing, and pursuing his passion in law and music. Jaden was a proud El Paso native and a graduate of Coronado High School. He had so much to offer this world and was taken away too soon. We are comforted to know he is in the hands of the Lord. Our faith and your prayers will carry us through this difficult time.

The Urrea family thanks the communities of El Paso and Dallas for the outpouring of support and prayer, and requests privacy at this time.

Jaden Urrea
Robert "Jaden" Urrea (Source: Facebook)

It was around 3 a.m. on October 31 when Dallas police received reports of a shooting at the intersection of South Harwood Street and Jackson Street.

When officers arrived downtown they found Urrea lying in the street bleeding. When members of Dallas Fire-Rescue responded they pronounced the 19-year-old dead at the scene.

At an afternoon press conference the following day, Dallas police Major Danny Williams said, "We believe that the victim had either been to a Halloween party, or to a bar celebrating Halloween."

Detectives located surveillance video that showed the suspect(s) interacting with Urrea. The video shows Urrea at the passenger side of a car. As the vehicle drives away the teenager stumbles and falls to the ground -- apparently after he was shot.

deadly Harwood shooting
(credit: Dallas Police Department)

Surveillance shows the car speeding from the scene, blowing through traffic at the intersection of Harwood and Jackson.

"Downtown Dallas has hundreds of cameras," Williams said. "We've been able to track the car, we've been able to track the complainant for quite a distance and from several different locations. We're confident that we will bring this perpetrator to justice."

The suspect vehicle is described as a white 4-door sedan -- possibly a Ford -- with a sunroof and custom wheels.

Police have no physical description of the suspect(s).

Investigators are asking that anyone with information about the shooting or knows the identity of the suspect(s) to contact police through email or call Detective P. Belew at 214.422.9275.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.