Ray High School student killed himself after bullying about tragic accident

On August 13, 2022 at approximately 11:15 a.m., a 18-year-old former Ray High School student was reported to have died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound at his home on the 4300 Mistletoe Street. Police responded and began CPR, but when paramedics arrived, it was too late.

The male subject was later identifed by family as 18 year old Juan Cortez III.

According to a family member, Juan Cortez III had just graduated from Ray High School and was depressed from a May 31, 2022 tragedy that killed two other Ray High School students, Matthew Garcia and Marcelo Saldua.

The family member also stated “I guess they are saying it was too much for him to deal with from the accident and the charges and car lawsuits pending against him. He was depressed”.

Cortez was the driver of a blue Mustang that was racing on Port Avenue and Broadway Street with the white Chevy Camaro vehicle that lost control killing both students at the scene. The students were leaving a Ray High School graduation rehearsal at the American Bank Center on May 31, 2022.

Juan Cortez III stayed at the scene and was later charged for Street Racing by the Corpus Christi Police Department. The charges were ultimately dropped, but the toll of rumors and badgering caused Juan Cortez III to be depressed from overwhelming death threats.

On the evening of June 4, 2022, police were dispatched to Juan Cortez III home on the 4300 block of Mistletoe Street for a disturbance. According to police and witnesses, a gun was pulled out after a fight broke out during Juan Cortez III graduation party. No arrests were made.

Our hearts go out to the Cortez family, and we wish them healing and peace.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in Corpus Christi, you can call for free and confidential crisis counseling session, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org