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Man arrested in North Richland Hills killing

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- A 49-year-old man found dead in his apartment Monday morning had numerous deep cuts to his head and severe skull fractures, according to arrest and search warrant affidavits released Tuesday afternoon.

The affidavits noted that Gabriel Diaz Jr may have been killed with either a butcher knife or machete, and that he could have been dead for several hours. The cause of death was still pending an autopsy by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Diaz’s body was found about 8 a.m. Monday in the living room of his apartment in the 6700 block of Buenos Aires Drive by his ex-girlfriend, police said.

Police arrested a 24-year-old man Tuesday morning who had been with Diaz at a sports bar and left with him.

Authorities identified the man as Gary Benjamin Haga of North Richland Hills. He was in the North Richland Hills Jail with bail set at $500,000 on suspicion of murder.

Police arrested Haga about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the North Richland Hills police station. More arrests could be possible, police said.

“He was being interviewed by investigators when he was arrested,” North Richland Hills Investigator Larry Irving said Tuesday.

The affidavits stated that Haga did not give police a statement as to what happened to Diaz.

Police did not release a motive.

Diaz’s ex-girlfriend told police that she last spoke with him Sunday night as he was shooting pool with friends at a North Richland Hills bar.

Through the investigation, police established that Diaz had been at Dino’s Sports Bar, 5600 Rufe Snow Drive, on Sunday night. According to the affidavits, police determined that Haga was with Diaz through a credit card receipt at the bar.

Police contacted Haga and asked him to come to the station for an interview.

In his interview with police, Haga told investigators that he met up with Diaz at a bar Sunday night, according to the affidavits. He told police he left the bar to go to Diaz’s apartment because the 49-year-old man had invited him over, the affidavits state.

Haga stated he stayed at Diaz’s for about five minutes and left after having a beer, according to the affidavits.

When questioned further, Haga asked for an attorney, the affidavits state.

A medical examiner investigator told police that Diaz’s attacker would have blood evidence on their clothing, according to the affidavits.

Armed with search warrants on Tuesday, investigators found a small piece of flesh on the driver’s side mirror of Haga’s white 1998 Ford Explorer.

Blood also was detected on the driver’s side floor board of the truck and in the bathtub in Haga’s North Richland Hills apartment, the affidavits state.