Shooting victims

Valarie Martinez, 24, holds her 1-year-old daughter, Azariah. They were killed in a “targeted” shooting Sunday.

Jessica Krupicka photo

The man accused of fatally shooting a 1-year-old girl and her mother in rural McLennan County on Sunday was arrested Tuesday for his involvement in the double homicide, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.

Christopher Paul Weiss, 26, of Temple, was arrested by Temple police and McLennan County Sheriff’s Office deputies late Tuesday afternoon for the shooting deaths of Valarie Martinez, 24, and her young daughter, Azariah. Weiss, whom the sheriff said is believed to be Azariah’s father, was arrested during a traffic stop when he and his wife were traveling in downtown Temple.

“This is going to be a capital murder offense,” McNamara said. “He is married to another woman and she was in the car with him during the traffic stop. He has two other children with (his wife), too.”

Deputies were called to McLennan County Park 3, near Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir, on Sunday after the body of Martinez was discovered outside her car, near the waterfront. McNamara said Martinez’s daughter was found shot to death while she was still buckled into a car seat in the car.

“This was a horrible, heinous crime and we are so relieved to have this cold-blooded individual in custody,” McNamara said. “This was truly a heartbreaking case.”

McNamara said detectives worked continuously after the slayings to find a possible suspect. He said it was believed that Martinez may have been in a relationship with Weiss and Weiss targeted Martinez and their daughter in the shooting attack.

The sheriff did not give any other details regarding the incident or possible motive.

Weiss was arrested on a first-degree felony warrant charging capital murder. McNamara said Weiss would see a Bell County judge Tuesday evening before he would be brought back to McLennan County.

McNamara said Weiss will be held on bond listed at $1 million.

A candlelight vigil has been organized for 6 p.m. Sunday at the park, off Willbanks Drive near the waterfront.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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