HOUSTON (KTRK) --Houston Police and the Texas Rangers are trying to figure out who opened fire on State Senator John Whitmire's office in the Heights.
Investigators say the building, located in the 800 block of Yale, was hit at least four times by gunfire. Evidence markers shot the shots pierced the side and front of the property.
"This is getting pretty close to home," said Whitmire.
He says there are normally 5 staffers working inside the office during the day. The shooting is believed to have occurred at about 12:30am Thursday, according to Houston Police.
Reporter Elissa Rivas reports the latest details:
"It just sounded like a semi-automatic of some sort. Something really fast," said eyewitness Teresa Vandiber.
She lives nearby and says she woke up hearing that sound of gunfire. Later, she says, she located what she believes to be spent shell casings with the numbers "223" and "REM" imprinted on them.
Whitmire's first staffers to arrive at the office didn't notice the bullet holes right away. They saw what they thought was damage from the storm. A maintenance worker found the first bullet hole on the side of the building. Police since have identified at least three others.
As chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Whitmire admits he often makes controversial decisions.
"It's what you don't know that scares you the most," said Whitmire.
He says neither he, nor anyone at his office has recently received any threats. He does wonder if there's a connection to a curious exchange he had last night at a Montrose-area restaurant . As he explains, a man in a trench coat approached him, said he was law enforcement and that he wanted to buy Whitmire a drink.
Whitmire declined, he says, politely.
"But he kept watching me. He went outside. It was raining. I don't know," Whitmire said.
The senator says he will now be beefing up security around his office to ensure his safety and that of his staff.
There is a surveillance camera at a business next door which might have captured something that can help police and rangers located the suspects but investigators have not yet said if that camera angle is of any investigative value.