Bellaire H.S. JROTC students remember killed 19-year-old classmate

Classmates and friends are remembering 19-year-old Cesar Cortes.

Tuesday afternoon, Cortes was shot and killed at Bellaire High School by a 16-year-old classmate. Cortes was a Company Commander for Bellaire High School JROTC. According to the teen’s friends, both Cortes and the shooter were in JROTC.

“I want Cesar to be remembered as the kind-hearted fun-loving guy that he was,” said Jake Ridenbaugh, a JROTC member.

“He was a great guy,” said Alejandro Morales, another JROTC member.  “He didn’t deserve this.”

According to other JROTC members, Cortes and the shooter never had any issues in the past.

“I don’t believe it was intentional,” said Ridenbaugh. “From what I know, the shooter brought the gun to kind of show off with his friends.  I guess Cesar might have tried to stop him and tell him to put it away, that’s when the incident occurred.”

“I consider myself friends with the shooter and good friends with the victim,” said Morales. “I just don’t know. It’s hard.”

Dozens of Cesar’s classmates were at the memorial Wednesday at Evelyn’s Park. Many were writing messages and making posters for the killed teen.

“It’s just so infuriating,” said Morales. “Why would he bring a gun to school?  Why would he still have it on her person?  For him to die it such a stupid way, it’s just so unjust.  I hope there’s justice for him.”