Suspect in shootings leads deputies on chase

February 4, 2010 9:36:07 PM PST
Four people were shot Thursday afternoon, and a suspected gunman was involved in a chase that ended in a crash. The two scenes unfolded right around rush hour in northeast Harris County.

It all started when four people were shot at a home on Charriton and Landfair, two fatally, and then the gunman stole a vehicle and was chased by sheriff's deputies. He ended up crashing into a utility pole where he was shot by deputies.

Four shot, two fatally, in home

Detectives have been on the scene since late afternoon, trying to piece together as to why someone kicked in a front door and began immediately opening fire.

The tears were falling and the embraces were tight as friends took in the news of a quadruple shooting in their north Harris County neighborhood.

"It's very heart-wrenching," said friend Debbie Bauer.

Harris County Sheriff's Office detectives say around 4:15pm at least two men kicked in the front door of a home in the 14200 block of Landfair.

"The suspects made forced entry into the residence and immediately started shooting," said Sgt. Curtis Brown of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Inside were two adult females, an adult male and a female teenager. Detectives are not releasing their identities, but say the two victims fatally shot were both female, while a male and female were hospitalized in serious condition with gunshot wounds. Neighbors said a well-known teenager was among those inside.

"I met her when I was 11 years old at the skating rink and ever since then we've been real close," said friend Haley Cantrell.

Bauer added, "She just went to get a couple cigarettes. She was just at the wrong place at the wrong time."

As deputies arrived on scene, they said one female managed to crawl outside and give deputies a description of the getaway vehicle. They told us the description of the getaway vehicle that the victim was able to give them definitely helped them track the suspect down. Investigators say the SUV belonged to one of the deceased victims.

"I just can't imagine that someone would take her life that way," said Bauer.

Detectives are not releasing a motive at this time.

Chase ends in crash; suspect fatally shot

The question now is whether deputies followed department policy and procedure in dealing with a man they just shot and could they have saved his life.

Eyewitnesses say the SUV went speeding down Barrington, narrowly missing a school bus before crashing into a utility pole in a ditch on Bertrand near Royal Pine.

"I saw the cloud of smoke and I saw one of the cops coming up out of the second cop car and he was running across the street towards the guy," said eyewitness Jack Cabello, who heard the shooting from down the street.

Investigators said the suspect jumped from the vehicle and pointed a gun at deputies. The suspect was reportedly hit by deputy gunfire, but it's unclear how many times.

"I heard about 15 to 20 gunshots. It was really quick, rapid. Like in 20 seconds, one after another," said Cabello.

Another eyewitness Leo Garcia saw the gun battle.

"He turned around and started busted at the cops. The cops started coming, then you started seeing a lot of gunshots coming from all directions," said Garcia.

Once the suspect was shot though, deputies seemed to stand near the suspect lying face down on the pavement and watch. As the minutes ticked by, our camera recorded no deputy rendering any sort of medical aid. Perhaps they thought he was dead, but a sheriff's spokesperson couldn't say.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said EMS was called immediately after the shooting.

We do know the suspect was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. A sheriff's spokesperson said he was pronounced dead there.

Investigators said the suspect was around 18 years old. They told us a second gun was found on him when he was being transported to the hospital inside the ambulance.

As far as the deputies, one has been on the force on patrol about five years, the other about three years. They were not hurt. Both of them have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation and a district attorney's investigation.