Prominent Houston doctor killed in Bellville

August 23, 2009 4:39:23 AM PDT
There are new developments regarding five suspects on the loose, wanted for killing a prominent Houston doctor, shooting another man and then firing on a police officer. Several agencies are involved in a large manhunt after investigators say the doctor and his wife were attacked at their ranch west of Bellville in Austin County Saturday at around noon.

Neighbors in the small community are stunned.

"Everybody is so nice here," said resident Karen Jones. "We can't imagine anything like this happening."

Jones lives just four doors from the ranch where Austin County deputies believe five armed robbers shot and killed Dr. Jorge Mario Gonzalez and seriously injured a second man.

"You're dealing with someone who is known armed and has the capability of taking a life," said Sgt. Paul Faircloth with the Austin County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say the doctor's wife was able to call 911 during the robbery, reportedly from inside a locked closet where she was hiding from intruders. Deputies say she and an infant in the home were not injured.

But as a Bellville police officer responded to the call for help, investigators say he confronted five men in three different cars leaving the scene. Deputies say the men fired at him and he shot back.

The suspects got away, but deputies say their investigation has turned up a Ford F-150 matching a vehicle description provided by that officer. Its owner is now in custody for questioning.

Neighbors hope deputies catch these killers quickly.

"It's scary. It's very scary," said Jones. "I'm sorry that this happened to this couple."

We've learned Dr. Gonzalez was a prominent pulmonologist with Methodist Hospital for more than 20 years. He specialized in sleep disorders. A spokesperson for the hospital released the following statement: "Dr. J. Mario Gonzalez was a great friend and respected colleague to all of us at Methodist. We are greatly saddened by his tragic death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones as they grieve this terrible loss."

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