Fender-bender turns into shootout

July 7, 2008 7:53:15 AM PDT
There was a shootout in southwest Houston Sunday. Shots were fired between an off-duty HISD police officer and a group of men. Police say it all started following a fender bender.The shooting happened around 3:30am on Fondren and Clarewood. Some 30 shots were fired and a U-Haul store in the path was forced to open late.

White markers litter the parking lot of the U-Haul store, identifying the spots where dozens of bullet casing landed. One truck had five bullet holes and a flat tire after getting caught in the crossfire.

"I started counting. There were at least 15 and they were just rapid succession. Then it was over," said neighbor Leon Howard.

Howard lives across the street and was surprisingly calm explaining the sounds he woke up to Sunday morning, saying gunfire is all too common.

"I figured it was just a drive-by," He said.

Detectives investigating the scene say an HISD officer got into a fender bender on Demoss while on the way to help a friend whose car had broken down.

"They're driving on opposite direction of the officer and they're just swerving back and forth, I guess they call it swinging, they're swerving back and forth. That's what caused the minor accident," said Sgt. Will Gonzales with HPD homicide division.

HPD says the officer eventually went on to help his friend, but when the suspects saw them, they sparked up another confrontation.

"The HISD officer identified himself as an officer and the suspects, as they're driving away, shoot in direction of the officer and his friends and the officer also shoots back in their direction," said Gonzales.

Many neighbors have security systems to help keep them safe. Howard avoids staying out past midnight, especially on the weekends. But the father of teenagers says it's hard keeping them in and Sunday's shooting is a little unnerving.

"They always assure me or try to assure me that they won't get in any trouble. They're not going to do anything. And I said, 'Here's a situation here. You can get right in the middle of something and don't know that," said Leon.

Police are still looking for those suspects who we're told fled in two separate cars.

Police don't believe anyone was injured in the shooting. They are reviewing surveillance from the U-Haul business to try to identify those suspects.

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