Victim described as budding artist; also loved football

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Carlos Perez had a smile that could light up a room and a spirit that won’t be forgotten, said school officials who knew him.

The 10-year-old boy was shot in the head early Thursday morning and died about 16 hours later.

“I just can’t believe this happened to him,” said Cynthia Hulett, one of Carlos’ former teachers.

Hulett said a class photo of the 10-year-old still hung on her classroom wall Thursday. She fought back tears as she spoke of Carlos, one of her most memorable students, she said.

“His face just lit up the room. He had the most brilliant smile, as close to a perfect kid as you could get,” Hulett said.

Carlos was in his fourth week as a fifth-grader at Cameo Elementary when he was shot while sleeping in his bed. Related arrests have been made, but no one has been charged with his slaying.

Fellow Cameo students were told about the shooting early in the morning, according to Cameo Principal Carrie Nigreville. She said the Cameo campus was somber Thursday; students and faculty shocked.

“Some (students) are very angry; some are sad. Some just don’t believe that it’s true,” Nigreville said, her narrative halted by tears.

Carlos was a multi-faceted student, former teachers said. He was a budding artist, but he also loved football; he was soft-spoken, but quick to confront school bullies, said Nigreville and former teachers.

“He was an angel,” Nigreville said.

“We are heartbroken for his family — we feel they are part of our family,” said Nigreville on Thursday night shortly after Carlos died at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Karri Hatley also taught Carlos. Then, he was a small and shy kindergarten student.

“I’m going to miss him,” Hatley said.