A father of six was shot and killed in Texas over Memorial Day weekend – at his only daughter’s high school graduation party.
Adam Tobias, 35, was gunned down at a residence on Santa Cecilia Lane on the southeast side of Houston at around 4:15 a.m. on Friday, the Houston Police Department said.
“My favorite person,” Destiny Tobias, the victim’s daughter, said through tears, her voice fracturing, in comments reported by Houston-based ABC affiliate KTRK. “He was my favorite person.”
Just as the world was supposed to have opened up for her, the distraught young woman clasped a smiling picture of the man she lost in a TV station interview that she never expected to give.
Festivities started on Thursday afternoon, and people went to the streets as the night wore on. At some point, the homeowner’s boyfriend, Philip Arning, 24, arrived at the party.
The homeowner is Adam Tobias’ long-ago ex-partner, KTRK reports.
Adam Tobias’ wife and boys left earlier in the night, but he wanted to stay and continue celebrating the powerful moment with his daughter, an accomplishment he reportedly did not obtain himself.
Late in the evening, Arning and Adam Tobias got into an argument that eventually turned deadly, police said. The joyful father was shot and killed on the front door steps.
A GoFundMe was started by the victim’s niece because the family is now struggling financially and cannot afford funeral expenses.
“He leaves behind his loving wife and 6 beautiful kids,” Griscelda Saucedo wrote on the fundraiser. “Adam Tobias was a husband, father, uncle, friend, son, brother and everything to us. My uncle Adam didn’t deserve to have his life end this way, but here we are, trying our hardest to pull together as a family and give my uncle a burial he deserves. My uncle Adam was the life of the party always had a huge smile on his face and always made sure to tell you, ‘I love you.’ He never took his life for granted and did everything he could do to provide for his wife and kids.”
Adam Tobias was unarmed when he died, police say.
“[P]atrol officers responded to a shooting call at the residence at the above address and found the victim unresponsive, suffering from gunshot wounds,” the HPD wrote in a press release. “Houston Fire Department paramedics pronounced him deceased at the scene.”
Arning stayed at the residence and was taken into custody Friday morning after the shooting. He currently stands accused of one count of murder. The defendant was detained in the Harris County Jail for several days. He is now out on $50,000 bond, Harris County court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
In footage of the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Destiny Tobias’ plaintive voice can be heard shouting: “He wasn’t supposed to be here.” She’s referring to the man who allegedly killed her father.
“He shouldn’t have even been at the house,” she told KTRK. “He wasn’t supposed to be at my house, and now he’s walking free, and my dad’s gone forever. And he’s walking like nothing ever happened.”
Other harrowing screams, of loss, rage, and despair, from outside the house where the shooting occurred can be heard in footage collected by San Antonio-based NBC affiliate WOAI.
A photograph of the graduation the morning before shows Adam Tobias rapt with pride as he hugs Destiny Tobias – her graduation cap affixed to her head; smiles wide on both of their faces.
“She held her dad’s lifeless body in her arms,” the victim’s wife, Neftaly Perez, and Destiny Tobias’ stepmother for 16 years, told KTRK. “And I’m sure she’s never going to get that out of her head.”
“I’m not going to be able to see my best friend, my only friend,” the grieving widow continued. “I’m not going to hear his voice. I’m not going to get his kisses.
Perez and her recently-deceased husband had five boys together.
“He was always there for his kids,” she said. “No matter what.”
According to the victim’s family, the argument was about Adam Tobias wanting to stay longer with his daughter.
“I want to enjoy every moment with you,” Destiny Tobias told KTRK, recalling her father’s words of encouragement, support, and pride. “You deserve this party, and I’m so proud of you.”
Adam Tobias apparently thought that the argument over being allowed to celebrate with his daughter was over.
And then the shooting started, family members said.
The assailant allegedly stepped out behind a door and fired before Adam Tobias knew what was happening.
“Cold-blooded shot him,” Perez told KTRK. “Cause he didn’t even see it coming.”
A benefit for the beloved father’s family will reportedly be held Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. at 503 McCarty St. until food sells out.
Arning was charged in the 208th State District Court on Tuesday.
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