Murder victim’s ‘dying declaration’ names lifelong best friend as suspect, police say


Daniel Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez, middle, allegedly shot his lifelong friend Ricky De Los Santos to death at a home in the San Antonio area on April 6, 2024. Deputies believe Hernandez shot his friend with a Draco gun, which is a knockoff AK-47 similar to the one seen in the inset picture. (Bexar County Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies in Texas arrested an 18-year-old man after the murder victim identified him as the suspect in a “dying declaration,” authorities say.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in the San Antonio area responded to a shooting call around 1 a.m. Saturday in the 2000 block of S Loop 1604 East. When deputies arrived the found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The victim told deputies who shot him, said Sheriff Javier Salazar.

“He was able to give them in what we call in law enforcement terminology a dying declaration,” Salazar said during a press conference. “In other words as it was believed he was going to pass from some pretty substantial wounds, he was able to give the name of a suspect to a deputy.”

Paramedics took the victim to the hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

The dying declaration was “just enough” for deputies to start doing research in order to track down the suspect, according to Salazar. As it turned out, the suspect and victim were lifelong best friends, Salazar said. Deputies arrested 18-year-old Daniel Hernandez later in the day on a first-degree murder charge.

Detectives believe Hernandez went to the victim’s house to buy some shoes when at some point an argument ensued. Hernandez allegedly took out a Draco gun, which is a knockoff AK-47, and shot the victim to death, Salazar said.

More on Law&Crime: Man who killed self-described ‘best friend’ over single social media post referring to him as a ‘rat’ learns his fate

“These two have known each other since they were little kids,” Salazar said. “They were best friends, so much so that the families said that these guys were so tight that they used to share each other’s GPS on their phones. So it’s kind of a mystery at this point as to what would drive this young man to kill what probably was one of his best friends in cold blood.”

Hernandez allegedly tried to say the victim pulled out a gun and he killed the victim in self-defense but deputies did not find any weapons on the victim. Deputies are still looking for the murder weapon.

Local CBS affiliate KENS identified the victim as Ricky De Los Santos.

Hernandez is at the Bexar County Jail without bond. His next court date is scheduled for May 8.

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